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The Sales Readiness Blog™

Ray Makela

Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.

Sales Management | Sales Leadership

Sales leaders often achieved their position based on their individual success and personal attributes. But when their role shifts to motivating and inspiring teams, improving attitudes, focusing on long-term vision, and helping initiate change, sales leaders’ mindsets need to shift as well. For a better understanding of leadership mindsets, we turned to Leah Clark, Senior Director of Leadership Development at GP Strategies. The company’s research on mindsets looks at what it takes to bring these leadership attitudes and their associated behaviors to life. Mindsets are a particular way of thinking, shaped by attitudes and opinions, that guide and influence the actions we take. Clark said their research has found that the following four mindsets are particularly important for leaders to establish.

Building Relationships | Sales Coaching | Managing Performance

“I think that’s what it’s all about: embracing change and being brave.” While this line is very applicable to the events of this past year, it is actually taken from the Apple TV+ series “Ted Lasso.” The comedy is about an American football coach who moves to England after he’s hired to manage an English Premier League soccer team. Though the premise is somewhat absurd, his leadership philosophy struck a chord with me.

Selling Skills | Sales Management | Recruitment & Selection

Hiring isn’t an exact science. Sometimes you think you have identified the perfect sales candidate, and it doesn’t pan out. Other times you aren’t quite sure whether the person will be a fit, and it does work. But within the high-stakes challenge of building a world-class sales organization, there are four things you can do to decrease uncertainty and increase your success rate.

Sales Training | Virtual Training

The typical in-person Sales Kickoff (SKO) looked very different this year – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sales managers have come to realize that the re-envisioned virtual SKO has advantages, especially when it comes to measuring outcomes and reinforcing the themes they want to carry forward throughout the year. Yes, traditional SKOs were great for team building and networking opportunities. Companies spent millions getting sales reps together, and wining and dining them to conduct annual trainings. Then they sent their reps back to work. But how did we know if any of it made a difference? Did we change behaviors?

Selling Skills | Prospecting

It’s harder than ever to reach senior executives. The usual protections provided by gatekeepers are still there—but now it’s compounded by extra physical distance and other distractions. In this environment, sales reps need to ensure they are perceived as being relevant and bringing fresh insights to the valuable meeting once they get it. They need to speak senior executives’ language and be clear about their objective. The payoff is engaging in more strategic relationships, developing longer-term relationships, insulating themselves from the competition, and closing more large deals. Here are four simple steps – also known as the RAMP method – that can help you sell higher in the organization.

Sales Training

COVID-19 has accelerated the move from traditional classroom-based sales training to virtual training. Participants' experience with virtual has been mixed. The unfortunate and inconvenient truth is that virtual sales training has struggled for years to produce the desired outcomes and return on investment that many programs promise. Challenges include lack of participant engagement, poor retention of concepts, and failure to create lasting behavior change in the real world.