Are Decision-Making Skills Innate or Learned By Salespeople?

Friday, August 21st, 2015 - Post by MichelleVazzana

decision makingAre your sellers natural-born decision makers? Or is decision making a learned skill? While some people may be naturally adept at making decisions, it is likely that your sellers still need a little help refining their decision-making skills. Some may need a lot of help. After all, anyone can make a decision, but it takes skill to make the right decision at the right time. Sellers need to know how to make critical decisions early in the sales process. Before sellers even begin planning a sales call, they need to determine which prospects in a territory to focus on, where to apply selling effort, and who to contact within those accounts.

As you can see, the way a seller plans and conducts a sales call is but one of many important activities a seller must execute. Each of these important activities involves decision-making. Managers who focus coaching effort on helping sellers make these critical decisions can ensure that sellers are applying the right amount of selling effort in the right accounts for the right reasons with the right people to develop the right opportunities.

But here’s the bad news. Although decision making is an important skill for sellers, it is … Read the rest

Avoiding CRM Failure Part IV – What Sales Leaders NEED to do to Ensure Success

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015 - Post by Tom Disantis

Tom CRM #4

Once again, thank you for clicking into my four part series on Avoiding CRM Failure.

If you missed them, in the first article, I discussed why most CRM rollouts fail – which is the “great divide” between how sales leaders view CRM compared with how sales people view CRM.

And in the second article, I detailed how to bridge this divide by identifying high impact activities that your sales people can execute that lead to the business results critical to sales leadership, and how this alignment should be incorporated into your CRM system.

In the third article, I focused on the critical component that ties all of this together – how to empower your Front-Line Sales Managers to use CRM as a COACHING resource, instead of an inspection/reporting tool.

For my final article in this series, I turn my attention back to where we started – sales leadership, and specifically what sales leaders can (and should) do to make sure that CRM is fully embedded into the day-to-day operations of their sales force.

Before diving in, though, let me provide a quick caveat. This article will NOT discuss how to design your CRM. That was covered in … Read the rest

Is Conventional Wisdom About Sales Coaching Wrong?

Friday, July 24th, 2015 - Post by MichelleVazzana

Conventional Wisdom

If I asked you if you coach your sellers, what would be your response? If you are like most sales managers, you would respond with a resounding, “Yes, of course!” But are you really coaching your sellers? When we ask sales managers to describe the kind of sales coaching they provide, almost every manager’s answer is the same. The response inevitably sounds something like the following:

“I spend one or two days per quarter (or year, or whatever) in the field with each of my salespeople. We meet in the morning to discuss our plans for the day and then we go on multiple sales calls throughout the day. After each sales call, I provide feedback to the salesperson. At the end of the day, we have a recap and discuss areas for improvement for the seller to focus on until our next field travel day.”

Do you see a problem with this scenario? Perhaps, you, like other sales managers, have more responsibility than ever before. In addition to managing large teams, you may also find yourself geographically distant from your teams. It is also likely that you can’t just meet each team member at the local diner for breakfast … Read the rest

Is your CRM a Coaching Tool? Probably Not…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 - Post by Tom Disantis

CRM-ArrowThis is the third in a four-part series on Avoiding CRM Failure. Part I can be found here, and Part II here.

Now we get to an interesting and critical part of the story, because to this point, we have been talking about sales reps and sales leaders. But we haven’t focused on the role of the Front-Line Sales Manager.

A Critical Lever Left Unpulled
It isn’t news that Front-Line Sales Managers are critical for any rep-level investment because they are the single biggest driver of the adoption of these investments. This could include a new sales process rollout, a new product launch, or any other initiative where we want reps to be doing something new or different.

Despite this awareness, however, the role of the Front-Line Sales Manager is rarely (if ever) considered during a CRM rollout.

Now, this is not to say that your Front-Line Sales Managers aren’t using CRM – believe me they are. According to our research, over 50% of companies expect their Front-Line Sales Managers to hold pipeline meetings with their sales people once a week. With these meetings lasting 53 minutes on average, that is a lot of time reviewing information!… Read the rest