As part of my daily routine, I like to start my day with coffee and education. I like to read, watch a documentary or listen to other business experts to keep up with what is happening in the business world. I have consistently heard over the past few weeks of economic experts talking about the recession of 2020. I don’t know if these experts are correct or not, but what I have learned over my 20 plus years in sales, the best time to prepare for a downturn in the economy is when the economy is robust! Does your sales organization have the fortitude to withstand an economic contraction?
It is surprising to me that when I speak to leaders of organizations, they are struggling with their sales business plan in this growth market and are not taking additional steps to recession proof their businesses in the advent of a slowdown in the economy. At the heart of the problem, is a limited understanding of the essential elements of a healthy sales organization. One that can withstand significant market fluctuations and thus is less susceptible to changes in the economy.
Having recently researched over 100 companies across multiple verticals, the following ten challenges continue to manifest and limit the return of the sales infrastructure dollar invested.
Ten Challenges Companies Face
1. Lack of Performance Accountability
2. Poorly Constructed Sales Compensation Plans
3. Inconsistent Sales Team Coaching/Development/On-boarding
4. Focus on Selling Stuff vs. Client Experience and Solving Client Problems
5. Aggressive Growth Targets, No Plan to Get There
6. No Explicit Plan to Manage Sales Team to Higher Levels of Performance
7. Blind Spot Relative to Sales Teams Activities, Sales Data Retrieval and Productivity Reporting
8. Poor Recruiting of the Right Sales Talent for Growth
9. Lack of Leadership Development in Sales and other areas
10. Poor Synergy and Cooperation between Sales & Marketing
It is critical for companies to create a high-impact sales plan across 16 key sales drivers, thus building a high-performance sales infrastructure and team. Leaders must strive to proactively manage their sales team and hire the right salespeople thru best practice and clear sales process definition. Companies taking the time to analyze their sales organization and approach, and then build a targeted sales plan will see a significant sales productivity improvement over time. This improvement will stand the test of toughening economic conditions and ensure improved consistency in achieving results.
Please click on the link below to answer my free, 10-question assessment to gain a glimpse of your current sales execution and receive improvement tips in your areas of weakness.
Link above is to a recent interview explaining what New England Sales Solutions powered by Sales Xceleration does for customers.
Contact us today to have a discussion with your organization to see how we can help you to create strategy, process and execution!
One of the things I love about living in New England is that we have 4 distinct seasons. As many of you have lived or seen on the news recently, we have had 4 large storms this March. Spring really came in like a lion this year!
One thing is true though, Spring will arrive! Mother Nature always wins out! Flower’s will bloom, it will stay light much later, and everything will turn green and new! We humans will become more active and come out of hibernation from our winter!
What about your sales team? Do they have some winter cobwebs from hunkering down for a long winter? Do they need some new energy to blossom and become alive again?
Here are three things you can do to pump some life into your sales team and get them going again!
Execute on any or all three calls to action above and you will see the energy and life flow back into the activities from your sales group. When activities increase with proper structure, your sales will spring to life! We are here at Sales Xceleration to help jump start that sales growth with other ideas and sales infrastructure building expertise. Click on the link to see a quick video or take a free assessment on sales infrastructure: https://www.salesxceleration.com/advisors/scott-yelle/.
When I have the chance to, I love to hire former high school or college athletes for sales positions I may have. I have found that they have some great qualities that help them to become successful sales reps. Let’s explore some of those traits now and see if the sales team that you have currently displays some of the same characteristics!
To be successful on the playing field, high performing athletes have all five of these traits in common:
Drive to be the best – athletes are great at setting goals and going for them! They have a constant drive to be their best! They look to find ways to improve season after season to help their team and themselves. Great sales people have all the same qualities. They set goals, they figure out an action plan to get there and they go for it! They are always trying to figure out a better way to achieve the results they want. They know they are part of a bigger team and when they perform well, it helps everyone around them!
Work ethic – great athletes are not afraid of hard work and to grind it out! They understand that it takes hours of preparation to be able to perform at peak performance when needed to. They set up a work out routine to put them in the best possible position to perform at their highest level when it’s game time! Great sales people do the same! They prepare for their calls with clients, new and old. They understand that they must focus on what they can control, which is their preparation to be in the best possible position to close the opportunity. They repeat the routine, week after week until they change their goals and strategy.
Teamwork – great athletes know that teamwork is critical for them to succeed. Even when you watch individual sports like skiing or golf, they always comment on how special it is to play for and represent their country. They know they need to be supportive of the folks around them and to push each other for greatness. They understand that they all have a role that is important to help the greater good. Great sales people are the same! They understand that they need to work well with the other departments for them to succeed. They understand that they need to support and work well with all the key people at their clients. They understand that today’s dishwasher could be tomorrow’s Executive Chef!
Coachability – great athletes like to be and listen to their coaches. They want feedback from their coaches, so they can improve and to perform better. Great sales reps understand this too! They listen more than they talk. They seek out coaching and input from their managers and peers. They know they need an extra set of eyes to help them achieve their goals!
What does all this really mean for you, the business owner. Let Sales Xceleration help you to assess your sales team. Let us be that coach on the sideline providing feed back for improvement. Let us use our years of experience in leading sales teams to drive a higher performance from your sales force. We have proven practices and methods that allow sales teams to reach their potential! Click on the link for a 5-minute sales assessment for free! www.salesxceleration.com/take-sales-agility-assessment/?gf_advisor_slug=scott-yelle.
Hanging My Shingle:
Starting My Own Business
By Scott Yelle
As many of you know, last year I decided to leave the corporate world and hang out my own shingle as an entrepreneur. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time now, and I am thrilled with my decision!
For this newsletter, I want to take some time to reflect and say thanks. I truly feel I have a blessed life, and many of you have contributed to that.
I want to start by thanking my employers over the last 25 years! I’ve worked for some outstanding companies that provided me numerous opportunities to grow and learn. But it is really the people I encountered along the way that made the journey so amazing! I have been very fortunate to have worked alongside many great individuals. I am thankful for them because they challenged me to grow – both personally and professionally. They were open to my coaching and ideas to help them improve, and without them, many of the opportunities I have had over the course of my career would not have been possible. I am the leader I am today because of those people and the interactions we had! Thank you.
I have joined the perfect company, Sales Xceleration, which has proven there is a need for the services I provide – in any industry. We provide turnkey selling solutions for small to mid-size businesses that want to launch or expand their sales operations, while delivering predictable and sustainable sales performance improvement. I have used these solutions to help current clients and want to help more small businesses. I now have a team of resources to help and support me on this adventure called entrepreneurship! It’s a great fit for me and I am thankful!
Here is the type of client I work with:
-Companies experiencing stagnant or declining sales
-Companies that want to take their sales organization to the next level
-Companies with owners wearing "multiple hats," who need to dellegate out sales leadership and responsibility
-Companies with owners who realize they lack the experience to manage the sales team as their company grows
I also want to thank my family for supporting me through this change. As you can imagine, it’s a big decision and affects all of us! Scary and exciting – all at the same time! I am blessed to have them by my side with their support!
Again, thank you to so many who have helped me along the way. I do appreciate the referrals and everyone's support! If we haven’t spoken recently, check out my website, or give me a call at 860-573-8782, and let’s chat!
Do Your Sales Reps Perform Like an Olympic Athlete?
The winter Olympics began last week, and I must confess that I prefer the winter events over the summer ones. I am always excited to watch the speed involved with the downhill skiing, the bobsledding and the speed skaters. I love to watch the teamwork of ice hockey and the pair’s figure skating. I am ever amazed at the drive and determination of the Nordic and Biathlon skiers. I marvel at the risk taking of the ski jumpers and the freestyle events, and I am fascinated with the strategy of curling!
As I was watching the events on television the other night, it occurred to me that a great salesperson possesses many of the same qualities of an Olympic Athlete! Speed, determination, teamwork, drive, risk taking and strategy! Which led me to the question … Are your sales reps ready to compete in the Olympics of Selling?
Assess Your Team – Be the Olympic Coach
In order to assess your team, you need to conduct routine reviews of your sales force. This can come in many forms:
1.Accompany them in the field.
Days spent with your rep in the field are the best, in my opinion. You can see if your rep has prepared for their work day, how they present themselves, how they handle objections, are they asking for the business, do they follow-up, and how well do they represent the company! A well-planned day with a sales rep, watching them perform in their everyday world, is critical to their growth. It also sends a clear message that you care about them! What sales rep wouldn’t want a manager who cares about their growth both personally and professionally?
2.Routine 1-1 sessions that are not performance reviews!
Schedule one-on-one time with every one of your reps on a regular cycle. It’s a chance to check in and see how they are progressing in key areas, and to provide ongoing coaching and career development advice. It creates a two-way, open dialogue that leads to a productive employee-manager relationship. When you structure these meetings to be productive for both sides, it will be one of the things your employees will look forward to the most!
These are a quarterly or semi-annual full-blown review of your sales rep’s performance against the key metrics that you mutually agreed upon at the beginning of the year. There needs to be a performance grade applied to this review, so your team knows exactly where they stand in the eyes of the company.
Assigning projects to your sales reps allows them to grow, and it allows you to observe how they handle time management, problem solving, delegation, etc. This is a great way to develop potential future leaders for your organization.
Remember, every Olympic athlete didn’t achieve their dream of competing on the Olympic stage without the guidance of great coaches along the way. Their coaches gave them honest, timely and consistent feedback on what they were doing well and where they needed to improve.
Assess Your Sales Infrastructure – Is it Designed for Peak Performance for Your Sales Athletes?
Building a solid sales infrastructure to support your sales team is critical for them to perform at peak levels and to bring home the Gold for your company! Key infrastructure components are:
· A customized, written sales business plan and revenue plan by salesperson, by product, and by month.
· A custom sales process for each sales channel. This enables business owners and their sales management team to tell at a glance where each opportunity is in the sales process, and what needs to be accomplished to move each opportunity to the next stage.
· A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) that allows you to manage the sales process for your company.
· Key performance indicators (KPIs) and forecasting models to track how the sales team is doing … Are we on track to win the Gold?
· A compensation plan that rewards your sales team for activities that will produce Gold Medals. If your plan doesn’t do this, then it’s time to adjust it to change the behaviors of your sales athletes.
“In times of uncertainty, create structure” – Sir Ernest Shackleton, Explorer
Is your business in an uncertain spot? Are you not sure what to do to jumpstart sales growth?
Follow the words of Mr. Shackleton. His story of leadership is an amazing one. He kept his crew
alive in the early 1900’s for over a year when his ship become stuck in the ice in Antarctica. An
amazing feat for that period! One of the keys to his success was creating structure that every
member of his team could follow day in and day out. This structure allowed them to focus on the
task at hand versus getting caught up on their situation. The team trusted the process and that
led them to survival.
Do you have the structure you need to thrive?
Every highly productive sales force, whether your company is big or small, has an infrastructure
and proven process’ in place that allows the team to thrive and produce results every year.
That structure helps remove some of the variables that come from running a business. That
structure allows you and your management team to effectively lead your team to execute at an
Start with the basics:
Building a solid sales infrastructure to support the sales team and sales management is of the
utmost importance for increased and sustainable revenue growth, specifically:
• Developing a customized, written sales business plan and revenue plan by salesperson, by
product, and by month;
• Implementing a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM);
• Developing a custom sales process for each product line and programming it into the CRM. This
enables the business owners and sales management to tell at a glance which stage in the sales
process each opportunity is in and what needs to be accomplished in order to move each opportunity
to the next stage;
• Developing key performance indicators (KPIs), forecasting models to track how the sales team
is doing; and
• Defining the structure and content for productive weekly sales meetings.
At New England Sales Solutions powered by Sales Xceleration, we know that any sales
and business growth comes with structure. Without that sales structure as a
foundation, your organization will struggle to produce consistent results. When we are
called in to assist a business, we work with you side by side to build that solid, time tested,
results proven structure to grow. Regardless of when we enter the situation as your advisor, we
help you manage the uncertainties associated with sales and build a foundation that will help you
to thrive for years