Leadership or Sales Management Training… Which Do You Really Need?

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - Post by MichelleVazzana

Learn-ButtonWhen a sales manager gets promoted, it’s typically because he or she was a very successful salesperson. However, many of the skills that made the manager successful as a rep are in direct conflict with the skills needed to succeed as a sales manager. Most organizations know this and take great pains to prepare these newly-minted sales managers for success – primarily in the form of training.

One of the most common types of sales management training is leadership training, which is designed to create greater insight and self-awareness about how sales managers relate to their team. While leadership ability is certainly important, there is another type of training that is often missing from the picture — actual sales management training.

At its core, the most necessary role of a sales manager is to manage, coach, and direct salespeople toward their goals. The company’s overall vision and strategy is set by executives and sales leadership, leaving sales managers to carry out the execution of the vision and to achieve its stated targets. Without this vital role of sales managers, a company’s vision and goals will never be realized, but sales managers need the right skills and tools to lead their … Read the rest

Dumb Things that Smart Managers Say: Lessons from a Soccer Game

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 - Post by JasonJordan

Coach-gifI was recently at a soccer tournament with my 12-year-old son. His team had won its first few matches and was in the semi-finals. The stakes were high – win and move on, or lose and go home. The kids were playing well but losing by one goal with only a few minutes left in the game. Their coach, whom I know to be a very smart man, then said something that I thought was pretty dumb. He screamed onto the field, “Come on guys, we really need this one!”

The kids’ reaction to his comment was actually quite interesting. As you would expect from a good group of kids who really wanted to win, each of the players immediately turned to their coach as soon as they heard his voice. And with all of their attention on him, the coach used that valuable time with their undivided attention at the end of the game to say, “We really need this one!” Great coaching?

Well just as quickly as the players had turned their attention to the coach, hoping for some wisdom or guidance, they dismissed his comment as the usual coaching gibberish. They returned to their soccer game, no … Read the rest

Sales Enablement… What Is That, Anyway?

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 - Post by JasonJordan

ToolsThere are lots of terms that get tossed around in sales forces, and many of those have very vague meanings. For example, ‘sales process’ and ‘coaching’ are two of the biggest offenders. Another term that we frequently hear used in various ways is ‘sales enablement.’

Sometimes this is a code word for a sales operations group, and other times it’s code for sales training. CRM will also get tossed into sales enablement conversations, as will any other technology that supports the sales force. So what’s going on with this sales enablement term? What does it really mean?

In the research that led to our best-selling book, Cracking the Sales Management Code, we discovered the real breadth of how people use this term. And its use is very broad. However, we were also able to categorize those uses and put them all into a box… The sales enablement toolbox, if you will. So what did our research reveal about ‘sales enablement?’

Basically, we found that sales enablement is a collection of tasks and tools that are intended to improve the execution of key sales activities. Activities like making sales calls, pursuing opportunities, managing major accounts, and targeting top prospects. You … Read the rest

Can Sales Process Win the Hearts and Minds of Sellers?

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 - Post by MichelleVazzana

The concept of ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of your sales force is becoming popular in the world of sales training. As we discussed in an earlier blog post, winning the hearts and minds of sellers happens when you give salespeople decision-making tools that remove ambiguity, create clarity of task for each seller, and equip them with tools, resources, and coaching that is highly targeted and relevant. However, clarity of task doesn’t just emerge out of thin air. There must be a framework that provides both sales managers and sellers with clarity of task… A framework built on sales processes.

Unfortunately, sales process has earned a bad rap in recent years. In fact, process has become somewhat of a dirty word in the sales world, but recent research may give sales process a much-needed boost to its image.

Process Failures
If you mention ‘sales process’ to sales managers and their sellers, they envision restrictive controls that dictate their every move yet rarely result in improved sales. But are processes themselves to blame? In the organizations where we have witnessed sales processes fail time and time again, it’s usually because the processes are over-engineered and too burdensome OR the processes … Read the rest