What's Wrong with Sales Quotas

Posted by Bill Hart on Jul 11, 2018 4:36:40 PM

Between 2010 and 2013, the greatest emphasis of sales force change was in the area of compensation and quota setting.  That’s according to Mark Donnolo, founder of The SalesGlobe, a sales consulting group in Atlanta.  During those two years, in over 100 large companies that participated in his research, almost every vice president of sales was focused on addressing the issues of compensation and quota setting for the next year.

Quotas and compensation plans are great drivers of change.  A good compensation plan can change the behavior of an entire sales force.  But in most cases, compensation plans and the quotas on which they are based are designed with one purpose in mind - to make the supplier/vendor more profitable. 

As I wrote in my last post, Zig Ziglar famously said that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want.  If you help the customer meet his or her needs, you have a much better chance of having your own needs met.  Therefore, making your customer’s bottom line your goal is the key to closing sales.

That leads us to the problem with many sales quotas:  they’re set for the wrong reasons by the wrong people

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Topics: sales process, sales training, executive sales training, sales strategy, forecasting

Why Your Sales Reps Must Follow the Platinum Rule

Posted by Bill Hart on Jun 27, 2018 4:06:36 PM

We’ve all heard the Golden Rule of Business: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”  That’s especially true in sales!  Your customers have the gold you’re after, so you must play by their rules.

To do so, you must also apply the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do to them, not as you would have them do unto you.”  There are lots of rules for successful selling, but they all boil down to this one rule.

The Platinum Rule of Sales

 Translated into the world of sales, The Rule means:

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Topics: sales training, executive sales training, sales strategy, Sales calls

3 Behaviors That Wreck Your Sales Training Initiatives

Posted by Bill Hart on Jun 13, 2018 4:56:31 PM

Many sales managers have become frustrated with sales training programs and have largely given up on pursuing training for their reps.  They have paid thousands of dollars for training in the past and received little or no return on that investment.

Unfortunately, instead of trying to find the root causes behind why the training didn’t work, they sometimes default to assuming the trainer they hired didn’t do a good job.  They may even conclude that sales trainers are all hype.  Or they may decide that their people just don’t have what it takes to be really stellar sales reps.

The reality is that most sales managers in this situation are unaware of the ways in which their own decisions and actions set them up for failure from the beginning. 

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Topics: sales training, employee engagement, motivation, productivity

Why You Can't "Manage" Sales - And What You Should Do Instead

Posted by Bill Hart on May 30, 2018 7:26:01 PM

Many organizations unwittingly suffer from a bad habit that greatly diminishes sales performance:  sales managers who spend too much of their time trying to manage a sales rep's outcomes.  You may ask, "Well, isn't that a sales manager's job?"

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Topics: sales training, employee engagement, motivation, productivity

Frustrated with CRM Utilization and Forecast Inaccuracy?

Posted by Bill Hart on May 16, 2018 5:31:37 PM

As a business owner or VP of Sales, have you been frustrated with your CRM utilization or forecast accuracy?  You are not alone.  Let's talk about one reason you may not be getting the results you wanted.

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Topics: sales training, engagement, CRM, forecasting

The Power of Goals to Move Sales

Posted by Bill Hart on Apr 10, 2017 5:42:32 PM

Do you sales reps have written goals? Do your employees have written goals?

Goal setting is one of the most powerful tools and methodologies to improve engagement - engagement of sales people and engagement of employees. Billy Cox writes in the All Star Sales Book: Get in the Game, Boost Your Number and Earn the Big Bucks  “Why do such a small percentage of people reach the elite performer status? Why do these top few make most of the money? And, how can you become one of them? Winning in sales is no different than winning in sports, business, and life. The next generation of salespeople may know how to close a sale, but most don't know how to effectively develop their mental aspects of the game. As a result they never make it to the top and they sit around wondering why others with less talent keep passing them by. In the game of sales, business, and life there are no time-outs, no overtimes. You only get one chance to play. The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Do I want to wait on the sidelines or do I want to win?'" 

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Topics: sales process, sales training, goals, engagement

Managing Risk - the main driver in sales

Posted by Bill Hart on Sep 8, 2016 10:38:30 AM

Revenue, Expenses and Risk

In all business purchases, there are 3 main business drivers that business owners and managers have as their core. The last 2 blogs I dealt with revenue and expenses. This one is on risk. There are two types of risk - general business risk and risk in the buying decision. General business decision risk is related to running the business. Buying decision risk is related to "Am I making the right decision and what will it cost me if I am wrong?" Both relate to business, but the buying decision risk has a lot more emotional factors involved, such as fear and ego.

Managing or reducing risk is huge factor in a buying decision. A business leader deals with risk in many areas. Risk to: data, people, buildings, general liability, financial, and business continuity to name a few. There are many ways managers try to reduce risk from insurance policies, data backups and cloud computing, physical security using ID badges, to having multiple people engage in the buying process. A buying committee is used to reduce risk, not necessarily get the best option with the most features.

I have a client who sells data services to banks. He reports that over the last seven years the focus has shifted from what revenue new software can deliver then to expenses reduction and now, the biggest concern is risk. The banks are evaluating contract terms, reputation of company, costs to get out of a contract and even data center uptime.  To reduce vendor risk, flexibility  in contracts is becoming a big issue.

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Topics: sales training, Sales, effective questions

Selling to Core Issues - Controlling or Reducing Expenses

Posted by Bill Hart on Aug 17, 2016 1:35:01 PM

In sales, you must understand what the core drivers are for a business owner when he or she is making a business decision, especially about buying your product or service. In the business owner's mind, they are relating everything they evaluate to three key core business drivers: revenue, expenses and risk. They are asking these fundamental questions when looking at an offering: 

1) Does this offering protect or increase my revenue? 2) Does this offering control or reduce my expenses? and 3) Does this offering reduce or control my risk? 

As a sales rep, understanding those core issues and tying your offering into how they impact those areas, will greatly set you apart from other sales reps who are just selling features and benefits and making promises. The way to tie your offering into those areas is to ask lots of questions such as "Mr. Business owner, how do you see our offering impacting your revenue stream?" or "Others have seen a 10% reduction in expenses by implementing these new processes; do you see yourself getting a similar benefit? "  "One of the key focuses of our software is to reduce the chance of a customer falling through the cracks and you losing the business or having a liability charge for negligence in serving your customer. Share with me how you see our offering impacting your business in this way."

Last week I focused on revenue. This blog  will expound upon controlling or reducing expenses as the major buying criteria.

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Topics: sales process, sales training, Sales

Converting Leads to Closed Deals

Posted by Bill Hart on Jul 29, 2016 3:20:42 PM released interesting data on the quality of leads and how fast they convert to deals. The data shows that leads coming from referrals have the shortest sales cycle and the highest percentage to close. Social media referrals/leads came in 2nd. Surprisingly, leads coming from tradeshow events and marketing and advertising were low on the scale in terms of converting to actual clients.
The reason being a referral and social media work so well is that the relationship begins on Trust. A cold call, website, or even tradeshow lead does not begin on Trust. Trust must first be established before the customer is willing to truly engage.

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Topics: sales training, Sales, trust, handling objections

Relationship Selling is Dead

Posted by Bill Hart on Jul 12, 2016 9:58:55 AM

Is your selling strategy based upon building solid relationships through the sales rep's likeability factor? If so, you are getting a declining return on the sales rep's ability to get new business or even maintain existing customers. Most sales reps are very high in the red or relationship quadrant. (Whole Brain Thinking) (Herrmann) They have good people skills and can win others over (WOO ability) quickly. The strategy behind WOOing is that they are trying  to build trust. The assumption is that if someone likes me, they will trust me.

The likeability sales strategy or relationship selling tactic is breathing it's last breath. In today's business environment, the majority of decision makers don't have time to discover if they like you before they know  what value you offer. Today's decision maker does not have the time for building interpersonal relationships (red quadrant) unless there is an obvious value to be gained. The traditional relationship selling model of being liked first assumes the likeability factor will then lead to the opportunity to show value.

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Topics: sales process, sales training, whole brain thinking, Sales