"...keeping you great" Ten Minutes with the Growth Guy
HEADLINES: (Sales Tips from the Sales & Marketing Summit) Print-Friendly Version
Sales Managers Don't Grow Sales, They Grow Salespeople! Jack Daly was his typical energetic and insightful self, closing our Sales Summit this week. Here's a link to his 21 Tips for driving sales and creating great sales leadership. As Jack notes, sales management is more than a full-time job. And the majority of the sales manager's time should be spent recruiting and training sales people, not garnering sales themselves-- or trying to run the company when the CEO is the default sales manager!!
Daily Sales Huddle -- Keith Crownover, CEO of Delta Health Technologies, a home health software solution company, shared at the Summit how they recently launched a daily huddle for their sales people. Notes Joe Fochler, Director of Sales "I was an initial skeptic of the daily huddle for my sales team; I am now a raving supporter. We had been holding an hour 'touch base' meeting each week as our only source of group communication. My reluctance remained even after we attended your recent seminar in State College. Following the workshop our management team spent some time with our coach Gene Kirila and he convinced me to 'give the huddle a try' and had some sound examples of how to 'sell the huddle' to my team. He told me to try the huddle for three weeks and if we don't feel there is any value, then we can stop using the huddle..."
Learn Faster and Save Time -- continues Fochler, "...We started the daily huddle on April 2, 2008 and the huddle has become a habit and my team has really enjoyed the quick resolution of 'stuck' points. Our huddle is from 4:50PM to 5:00PM each day and I take any 'stuck' items to my morning huddle with the executive team. I often have issues resolved before we get back together for our nightly huddle. I have actually found that I have fewer interruptions throughout the day as my team has developed a discipline to wait until our daily huddle for certain issues to be discussed. We have experienced great 'findings' about competitive advantages that a salesperson shared that may have been lost if we waited a week. We all feel like we are 7 days ahead of our competition and the pace has definitely picked up as a result of the daily huddle." Here's a link to my article on running a daily sales huddle.
Sales People Need to Bring Value to a Sales Call, Not Just Communicate Value -- this was one of the key messages Neil Rackham delivered to our audience. And how does the sales person deliver such high value that the customer would actually pay for the sales call? (this is an excellent litmus test for determining if you have an effective sales force) -- Here is Neil's list in order of value (low to highest):
- Talking brochures add no value
- Information on customer relevant trends and issues adds minor value
- Acting as the customer's advocate creates value
- Problem solving and customizing solutions add high value
- Helping customers change strategic direction adds most value
suggests, as part of a call planning process, that the sales person
with their sales manager figure out the kind of value they can bring to
a particular sales call.
Transactional vs. Consultative Sale -- Neil also drove home the point that you can't get stuck in the middle. You either need to dramatically reduce your transactional sales costs (web solution or distribution channel strategies) or build deeper consultative selling skills and approaches i.e. Oracle took the transactional database sales away from the sales force and moved to a telesales and distribution channel strategy and in turn focused their sales team on landing the larger applications business that required deeper consultative skills. The result -- no reduction in database sales while a dramatic increase in application sales. In transactional sales, the buyer trusts the product; in consultative sales the buyer trusts the seller (sales person).
Three C's of Consultative Selling -- so how does a salesperson build trust? Candor -- straightforward, no exaggeration, honest about ignorance; Concern -- cares about what I think, listens, asks questions; Competence -- professionally sound, technically proficient, experienced. And which of the three is most important, Rackham's research shows? Concern. This led to his famous SPIN Selling model. I encourage ALL sales people to read his SPIN Selling book or fieldbook once a year to sharpen their questioning and listening skills.
Sales Manager or CEO Should NEVER Offer Customer Concessions -- this powerful tip from Neil Rackham. The quickest way to undermine your sales person and signal to the customer that he/she should deal with you directly rather than the sales person is to OK concessions. If a customer asks for a discount or free shipping etc. and you're on the sales call with your sales person you should turn to the sales person and ask "would it be OK if we offer the customer an 8% discount -- you know the numbers?"
Marketing Hints Next Week! And the next Sales and Marketing Summit is April 21-22, 2009 -- mark your calendars.