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The Mindset of a Top Performing Sales Professional

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What makes up the mindset of a top performing sales professional? What are the characteristics that help top performers stand out or that make them more effective?"

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Can On-Demand Sales Training Replace Classroom Training?

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "Can on-demand sales training replace classroom training.

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How To Help Reps Keep Their Pipeline Up-To-Date

By Ray Makela

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Since the day the first contact management systems added features to enable Reps to keep track of their opportunities, there has been a constant struggle between manager and sales rep to keep the pipeline clean and “update the damn CRM.” Management wants a roll-up of their reps’ pipelines to enable better visibility and produce accurate forecasts, while reps are not motivated to spend precious selling time on administrative tasks and data entry that doesn’t help them close business.

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How to Breakout of a Sales Slump

By David Jacoby

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At some point, every salesperson goes through a slump. One month you seem to close every deal in sight, and then the next month you go ice cold. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to close a deal.

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The Best Question to Ask on a First Sales Meeting

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What's the most effective question to ask a prospect on a first meeting?"

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How to Assess a Salesperson's Coachability (& Why It Matters)

By David Jacoby

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To maximize sales results, a sales manager has to ensure that his or her team is operating at their peak level like a sports team. That’s where coaching comes in—it’s one of the most important things you can do as a manager to drive better sales results.

Coaching is the time you spend 1:1 with your team members to improve their ability to sell. The most common obstacle preventing sales managers from coaching their teams is time commitment. Coaching takes time and doesn’t have a “due date.”  So often managers postpone or reschedule coaching  to complete other time-sensitive management activities.

I have previously discussed how to allocate your coaching time. A good rule of thumb is that you should spend:

  • 60% of your coaching time with your salespeople with medium skill levels,
  • 15% of your coaching time with your salespeople with low skill levels, and
  • 25% of your coaching time with your salespeople with high skill levels.

The idea here is that you should spend most of your time coaching salespeople with medium skills. These salespeople will provide the highest return on your time investment as you develop average performers into high performers. Low skilled reps may require too much of a time commitment to help, while high performers have some room for improvement, but don’t need lots of coaching.

But what do you do if you are extremely limited in your time available for coaching? 

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Key Considerations for a Successful Sales Training Partnership

By Norman Behar

On this Q&A episode: "What are some of the key considerations for a successful sales training partnership?"

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Does Sales Training Matter? The Salesperson’s Perspective

By Norman Behar

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One of the most important questions senior sales leaders ask is whether a sales training initiative will really deliver better sales results.  The basis for this question is likely based on the reality that they may have previously invested in training programs with little to show from their investment

At the same time, the global sales training market has grown by nearly $1 billion over the last seven years (now estimated at $2.54 billion annually according to Training Industry) and it would seem irrational for companies to significantly increase their training investment if it wasn't impacting their business.

To get a better sense for what selling skills are most important and how better sales training impacts business results, we conducted a research study with Training Industry to understand the salesperson’s perspective on this topic. 

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Selling Against a Competitor (When You Think They're Better)

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What do you do if your competitor's product is better for the client?"

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The Ultimate Guide to Building Relationships with Your Buyers

By David Jacoby

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We all have heard the old sales adage: “People buy from people they like.”  And a significant body of behavioral science research supports this statement. According to famed psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, liking is one of the six principles of influence outlined in his  seminal book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

When you have a strong relationship with a buyer, you tend to have more influence with that buyer. That means the buyer respects your experience and advice, they're more likely to value your contribution to the decision process, and there is a greater chance of such buyer becoming a “long-term” customer.

Follow these four strategies to build a strong relationship with your buyer, and you'll go a long way towards having an easier time closing more business.

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How to Deal with Competitors Who Lie

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What do you do when your competitor flat out lies? I'm not talking about a rogue salesperson making up fibs. I mean when their company market materials contain figures that are significantly inflated or entirely fabricated?"

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How to Prevent a Prospect Going Silent After Your Proposal

By Ray Makela

Don't let prospects go silent after responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP). In this Q&A we discuss strategies you can use to increase your chances of closing the deal.

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Why Sales Managers Fail at Coaching?

By Norman Behar

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The reason is pretty simple. Managers become accustomed to telling as opposed to enabling their salespeople to identify and solve their own problems. Consider these two typical situations:

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Back to the Future: AI and the Role of Sales People

By David Jacoby

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Last week I saw the future. Google demonstrated its amazing new Duplex technology that allows Google Assistant to make phone calls on your behalf and have natural, human-sounding conversations. Watch the demo here and listen to the Google Assistant first call a hair salon and book an appointment, and then make a reservation at a restaurant.

I was blown away by Googles’ Duplex technology, and it is obviously a major step forward in the ability of computers to understand and generate natural speech. This will dramatically improve the customer experience in communicating with automated phone systems. But what are the implications for the sales profession?

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How to Embed A Company's Culture in Sales Training

By Norman Behar

A question that often comes up in our conversations with clients: "How do you embed a company's culture in a sales training program?" It's an interesting question because culture is something that's intangible, but we kind of know it when we see it. 

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5 Step Checklist to Assess Sales Readiness

By Norman Behar

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As your company begins to hire new sales reps and looks for ways to accelerate their ramp-up time, while we would all like our reps to get on quota track faster, we have found that the “readiness” of the sales organization is critical to making this goal a reality.

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Sales Readiness: What does that mean?

By Norman Behar

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I’ve often been asked as the CEO and co-founder of Sales Readiness Group, what does “sales readiness” really mean. In today’s hyper competitive sales environment, companies are looking for their sales organization to consistently deliver great results. Sales readiness is the work that needs to take place up front so that your sales organization can produce those results. For a company to be “ready to sell” it must optimize numerous sales readiness factors. These include (i) overall sales strategy, (ii) sales methodology, (iii) integrated sales & marketing, (iv) performance management systems, and (v) sales organization and talent.

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5 Areas You Need to Focus on to Boost Sales Effectiveness

By Norman Behar

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Every sales executive is focused on how they can make their sales organization more effective. After all, we would all like to sell more, reduce our sales cycles, improve win ratios, and have more productive sales teams. The problem, of course, is that the concept of sales force effectiveness is so broad that it makes it difficult for sales executives to figure out what needs fixing.

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How to Better Engage Buyers in the First Sales Call

By David Jacoby

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Many sales leaders tend to over-focus on creating scripts for their sales teams. These include prospecting scripts, presentation templates, responses to common objections, and lists of questions to ask buyers. Scripts can be a great learning tool for your team to improve their selling skills, but you should use them with caution.

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How to Align Your Sales Coaching Program for Success

By Ray Makela

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It’s no surprise that high-performing sales teams have managers who spend more time coaching, as evidenced in our Sales Management Research Report.

There are numerous benefits to effective coaching, but despite the general acknowledgment that it’s a high-value activity, many managers don’t spend enough time coaching. Several reasons managers don’t coach include that they don’t know how, don’t think they have time, or don’t have a process to follow.

But here’s another piece of the puzzle that many sales leaders don’t want to admit. One of the biggest reasons managers don’t coach is because the organization hasn’t adopted a culture of coaching. Changing the organization culture is hard. At a minimum, if the initiative hasn’t been made a top priority by the leadership team and there isn’t a process in place to manage the behavior change, it will be doomed to fail.

The six factors identified in the graphic below will help ensure your sales coaching program is aligned for success.

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How to Increase Your Team's Sales Prospecting Activity

By David Jacoby

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Ask any sales leader if their team is doing enough prospecting, and they’ll invariably say “No.” Ask sales reps if they should be doing more prospecting, and they’ll grudgingly agree that more prospecting would be better.

The benefits of sales prospecting are apparent; more prospecting equals more sales opportunities. So why aren’t sales teams doing enough prospecting?

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6 Benefits of Sales Coaching (And Why It Should Be a Priority)

By Norman Behar

benefits of sales coaching

The battle cry for Sales Coaching has never been greater. Learning and development professionals and senior sales leaders continue to identify Sales Coaching as a top priority for their frontline sales managers. Yet, the frontline managers often avoid coaching for a number of reasons:

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How to Knock Your Next Sales Interview Out of the Park

By Ray Makela

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Attention prospective salespeople—here’s a hint. If you want to work on my sales team, you have to show me you can sell.
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WARNING! Approach Sales Enablement with Caution

By David Jacoby

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Sales enablement is booming. According to a 2017 survey of sales organizations conducted by CSO Insights, 59.2% of the respondents had a dedicated sales enablement function. This is up from only 19.3% in 2013.

Sales enablement is a catch-all term applied to any practice that attempts to increase sales productivity. It’s not uncommon to find sales enablement departments responsible for a plethora of disciplines such as strategy, sales processes, analytics and reporting, lead generation, training, tool selection and content management.

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Why Sales Managers Don't Coach (and What to Do About It)

By Ray Makela

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The evidence for the benefits of coaching is compelling. Not only can it help develop your reps and improve selling skills, but high performing sales teams tend to have managers who spend more time coaching, as evidenced by the 2017 Sales Management Research ReportIt’s a bit like flossing or going to the gym—we all know we should do it, but for various reasons, it doesn’t happen as often as we might like. So why is that? 

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3 Factors for Building Sales Relationships that Convert

By Norman Behar

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With the introduction of new sales enablement technologies and the shift to, technology-driven, inside sales reps, do relationships with customers still matter?

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How to Influence More B2B Buyers by Showing Your Expertise

By David Jacoby

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One of the core skills of successful selling is how well you can influence buyers. When you have influence, the buyer is more open to your message, respects your advice, gives you access to key decision makers, and, ultimately, buys from you.

One technique you can use to build your influence with a buyer (especially with b2b buyers) is by demonstrating your expertise—i.e., the depth of understanding you bring to the sales conversation.

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The Importance of Sales Coaching Models for Better Results

By Norman Behar

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In our 2017 Sales Management Research Report, 5 Hallmarks of a High-Impact Sales Organization, we found that sales managers at high-performing organizations spent significantly more time coaching their teams than average and lower performing teams.

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Six Sales Coaching Activities That Will Set You Apart As a Coach

By Ray Makela

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Sales coaching is one of the most important activities a manager can do to improve the performance of their sales team, as evidenced by the 2017 Sales Management Research Report.  Yet managers often confuse sales coaching with just having one-on-one meetings and telling their reps how to improve. At the heart of good sales coaching is a mindset that encourages the rep to take responsibility for their development and engage in a collaborative, positive process of improvement. This involves key sales coaching activities that are different than other things you may be doing to direct, manage or motivate your team.

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How to Make the Most of Positive Buyer Feedback

By David Jacoby

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When you’re making a sales presentation, it’s essential that you stay aligned with the buyer. That means asking your buyer to assess how well he or she believes your offering can address their needs, and if they have any concerns about your solution and its implementation.

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