Miller Heiman Blog

Enabling Principles To Develop Salespeople’s Adaptive Skills

Let me start by defining a couple of terms that I’ll be using throughout this article.
 
“Principals” provide guidance that are based on an organization’s core values concerning how to deal with different customer situations. Principles require interpretation and adaption to the specific situation. “Rules,” however, are clearly defined statements with almost no space for interpretation. Rules define what and how to do in a certain sequence, given a defined situation.

Demanding, complex buyer networks require adaptive sales professionals

Today’s customers are very demanding and more risk averse than the customer from a few years ago. The number of involved customer stakeholders is growing, and buying processes are more formalized than ever. Decisions are no longer based on features and functions but on financial business-performance criteria. Furthermore, every customer makes every decision differently, every time, which makes every sale different. Sales professionals have to learn, unlearn and relearn very quickly due to those changing buying environments. That covers all areas of knowledge, selling and problem-solving capabilities. Therefore, an adaptive mindset is the prerequisite to remaining successful even in complex environments.

Navigating complexity – principles are key to success

When embedded in a framework, principles, defined as guidelines (see above) and based on core values, such as providing perspectives, can be easily adjusted to those different and complex situations. Rules wouldn’t be flexible enough for complex environments. A customer’s journey has iterations, especially in the early phases. The more customer stakeholders learn, and the more new stakeholders get involved with different concepts, the more likely they will step back and tackle the challenge again from a different perspective. Ideally, a sales professional has provided a more value-creating perspective and caused such iteration. The flexibility of principles combined with the ability of the sales professional to apply those principles fast to new situations is an A-player’s recipe for success.

Enabling principles

Sales principles are focused to create a specific value for customers to help them achieve their goals. In parallel, they help to move deals forward. Sales enablement has to define those principles on how to achieve each stage of the customer’s journey, derived from the sales methodology. As an example, the principle for the awareness phase could be to develop a shared vision of the customer’s desired future state to drive their desired results. There are multiple ways achieve such a shared future vision of success. But the success depends on the customer’s specific context, the stakeholder’s different concepts, and the sales professionals’ decision-dynamic expertise and their adaptive capabilities to adopt principles to a specific situation fast and effectively.

Sales enablement has to build frameworks with enablement modules addressing those principles. The design point, as always, is: customers at the core.

Level 1 is the knowledge foundation. It covers packaging content modules stage per stage in interactive and dynamic playbooks. And it teaches how to use them effectively. Level 2 is the skill foundation—it’s about all relevant selling capabilities, mostly provided as training services. Level 3 makes the difference. It’s about training the sales professional’s adaptive capabilities based on the provided knowledge and methods. Training to create impact has to be an ongoing, consistent practice in order to achieve world-class performance. It has to be reinforced with a connected coaching practice by the frontline sales managers.

Level 3 training—“selling simulation” would be the better word—is about practicing business awareness in different conversations with different stakeholder types at different stages in different situations but in a safe environment.

Enabling and sharpening adaptive skills is the missing piece in sales enablement that equips sales professionals to play in the Premier League, to deliver significant results in today’s complex and fast-changing buying environments.
 

Posted: 7/30/2014 6:00:00 AM by Tamara Schenk | with 0 comments


Knowing When to Call It Quits

There’s a scene in the film “An Officer and a Gentleman” where Richard Gere (our aspiring Navy pilot) is being pushed to the breaking point by the drill sergeant. He’s saying “No sir, I won’t quit, you can kick me out of here but I ain’t quitting!”

That’s Hollywood. The lesson we have been taught many times is that when the chips are down, it’s the strength of our character that makes the difference between success and failure. We call it perseverance. Quitters are losers who make excuses, and winners are lone heroes who win because of their “grit.”

The Urban Dictionary defines perseverance as “to finish what you started regardless of the obstacles that stand in your way.”

It’s the same belief that permeates the sales profession. Many of the myths around what makes someone good at sales include the belief that it’s a natural, innate ability. But we know this isn’t true. Some of the “obstacles that stand in your way” are outside of your control. There are things that we can influence, but the only thing we can really control is our own activity.

So just like Richard Gere, we maintain our perseverance and give the customer the authority to “kick us out” or quit on the deal. That way it isn’t our fault, right? How can our boss blame us for a deal where we didn’t quit, the customer did?

Why do we abdicate our decision making to the customer? Out of fear. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of walking away from an opportunity only to see a competitor—or even worse, a colleague—pick up the deal we thought was dead.  Better to keep hold of the failure than let success slip from our grasp!

So our decision making is compromised because of our lack of information and willingness to act. These are both fundamental requirements for a strategy.

The other fear is that we don’t know what we will replace that opportunity with. What if we apply this logic and end up with a massive gap in the forecast? It can be lonely on the moral high ground, and it’s a terrible place to look for a new job. This fear creates a logic that starts with A won deal is better than a lost deal. A deal that isn’t closed yet is better than a lost deal. A large deal that isn’t closed yet is better than a small deal that isn’t closed yet. Pretty soon, our funnel is more a reflection of hope rather than a qualified reflection of the customer’s intentions.

Okay, so how do we do it? How do we take the power back?

The first thing we do is deal with facts rather than feelings. We apply some process and create some objective criteria. Not just to the profile of company that we want to work with, but to the criteria around the opportunity itself. Asking the prospect to demonstrate their commitment at every stage by advancing their buying process enables our sales process to advance in concert.

If we test commitment, we can spot the pretenders and stop investing in them. After time, when we get better at it, we can spot them earlier and earlier and minimise our exposure on each one. Better than that, for the ones that we win, testing commitment can drive momentum in the process and enable us to reduce sales cycles. Overall, the improved focus and definition of stages and associated actions in the sales funnel drives forecast accuracy. That’s the real win here for the business. Not just quitting with confidence but increasing the velocity of opportunities in the funnel and ensuring more consistent and reproducible forecasting.

Predictable outcomes are the result of process and thoughtful action. As Sun Tzu said:

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.”

We are Miller Heiman, and if you’re a sales leader looking to improve forecast accuracy and the vitality of your sales funnel, we’d love to talk to you.

Posted: 7/28/2014 6:00:00 AM by Dan Donovan | with 0 comments


Obstacles to Success

Sometimes failure is a state of mind. That can certainly be said of the sales profession. When we feel successful, we start acting successful. Nine times out of 10, that leads us to being successful. Of course, the same can be said of feeling like a failure.

Sales professionals who’ve been in the business a while will tell you that reality is only part of the equation. Top performers have long recognized the role a new car, a new suit or a really great pair of shoes can play. These things didn’t make the sales professional successful, but they made them feel successful – an attitude their customers could easily sense.

But just as outward appearances make a difference, so do the things we tell ourselves.

Take collaboration, for example. People collaborate all the time. In school, we collaborated with others on special projects. In charitable organizations, we collaborate to raise money and to support a worthy cause. In business, we collaborate to complete special projects or supply needed information to others.

For some reason, sales has a harder time with collaboration than other departments. Is it because salespeople lack the collaboration gene that is found in the rest of humanity? I don’t think so. Most sales professionals have degrees or at least specialized training. And many of them belong to charitable organizations and support worthy causes.

Perhaps it’s what salespeople tell themselves about collaboration that makes all the difference. If I collaborate on this opportunity, I’ll have to share the credit. If I have to share the credit, I won’t be as valued in the organization. If I’m not as valued, my job is at risk. If my job is at risk, I won’t be able to pay for the new car I just bought.

It’s a self-defeating cycle of negative self-talk that ultimately gets in the way of success.
Posted: 7/23/2014 6:00:00 AM by Barb Bouljon | with 0 comments


Conscious Collaboration—A Behavior Of World Class Sales Performers

Conscious Collaboration – A World-Class Behavior 
Look at a couple of your won deals and analyze the criteria that made the difference. There will be tangible criteria such as the vision of future success, the compelling business case, a specific solution whose value outweighed the perceived risk of change, etc. There is one intangible criterion that empowers all the tangible criteria, and that is collaboration. 

Conscious collaboration—a behavior of World-Class Sales Performers
The 2014 MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study identifies the individual behaviors that drive World-Class Sales Performance. One is conscious collaboration. It’s the ability to collaborate across departments to pursue large deals—specifically, to quickly allocate the right resources to those deals. It’s the ability to collaborate across departments to manage strategic accounts and to have an effective cross-functional process to manage global accounts. Conscious collaboration also means that sales and marketing are solidly aligned, with a shared understanding of the customer’s journey and a shared focus on one goal: revenue. 

Collaboration needs to be defined
The purpose of collaboration is not collaboration itself. It’s achieving better results in a shorter amount of time.  It allows individuals with disparate areas of expertise and different roles to work together in ad hoc scenarios through a common language and strategic frameworks. Collaboration connects teams, organizations and companies. It’s how they work together to multiply their individual contributions. Collaboration objectives are different for a strategic-account environment, and they are different for an inside-sales team. Sales professionals are traditionally more competitive than collaborative, which means that collaboration and its objectives must be clearly defined. Collaboration has to make sense for sales professionals. That's why we call it conscious collaboration. Each situation is unique and requires its own balance of collaboration and competition. For example, large-deal teams are necessarily collaborative, while account teams compete for sales resources, and sales professionals may compete for promotions. Defining collaboration cannot be delegated. It is a sales-leadership task. When sales leaders establish guiding principles for different situations and define expected behaviors, it creates the foundation for conscious collaboration. 

Collaboration needs a framework to create business impact
These principles and definitions must be operationalized to create a common language and a shared understanding of the components of the strategic framework. Successful collaboration frameworks start with the customers at the core. Those frameworks cover customer-management strategies (including account and opportunity plans), industry strategies, and sales execution plans. Messaging covers how to address different customer stakeholders with the right messages based on their concepts and roles. Another component is knowledge—covering all relevant knowledge areas (e.g., customer, products and solutions, industries, competitors, and internal knowledge). Prepared with such a framework, and ideally embedded in technology, collaboration and enablement platforms—together with integrated SFA/CRM systems—can create great value. The extended sales teams can speak the same language, have access to the same information, and are able to focus on the customer instead of constantly needing to adapt to random, judgment-based tactics driven by individual sales professionals. In this way, conscious collaboration empowers sales communities. 
 
Looking for more interesting data on World-Class Sales Performance? 
 
Posted: 7/21/2014 6:00:00 AM by Tamara Schenk | with 0 comments


Redefining Sales Productivity

How long is a piece of string? It’s an opened-ended question that can have any answer you choose. The definition of sales productivity falls into a similar category, as it can be defined in many ways. Traditional financial definitions look at sales productivity as a factor of cost, head count and revenue. This defines sales as a noun in clear and measurable data, but it does little to enable sales leaders to make decisions and investments that can impact selling, other than managing costs and measuring performance.
 
In the complex world of B2B sales, “productivity” has taken on new meaning. World-class organizations are constantly seeking to improve sales performance and are looking at sales productivity in a new light. They recognize that selling is a verb—it has action, motion, and is always dynamic. They focus on increasing the salesperson’s ability to complete more activities in less time (efficiency) and on improving the quality of the outcomes from those activities (effectiveness). Activity without outcome is wasted effort. Metrics for sales cycle length and opportunity conversion rates by sales stage are examples of data that provide a new perspective on productivity, connecting activities with outcomes.
 
This more dynamic definition of sales productivity illuminates a deeper level of insight into the dynamic of selling. Making more bad sales calls is not the answer. Sales productivity is achieved by increasing the frequency of selling activities and improving the outcomes and results from those customer interactions. The completion of any sales activity should result in an outcome—ideally, advancing the sales cycle. Measuring the frequency and outcomes of sales activities provides insight into what works and what doesn’t and, with that, the ability to target training, messages, content and resources.
 
Tasked with improving sales productivity is the productivity infrastructure comprised of sales operations, training, enablement and technology. These teams specialize in providing the sales organization with winning customer strategies and professional selling skills, along with the knowledge they need to connect to their customer’s concepts, all supported by a sales technology infrastructure. Measuring their impact with traditional productivity metrics does little to capture their value and even less to provide the strategic direction they need to drive performance.
 
Redefining and incorporating sales productivity metrics with traditional performance data provides the sales leader with a multidimensional view of what is currently happening (productivity) and what has happened (performance).
 
Our annual MHI Global Sales Best Practices Study, conducted in the fall each year, compares the behaviors of World-Class Sales Performers and Organizations against all others. Supporting that study is the mid-year MHI Research Institute Sales Performance and Productivity Study. This study focuses on the operational data and metrics of the sales organization. Forecast accuracy, funnel confidence, investments in technology and training, and sales turnover are among the performance and productivity data we collect and analyze. We also explore the elements of the productivity infrastructure and the priorities for each.
 
I invite you to join our research community by participating in the 2014 MHI Research Institute Sales Performance and Productivity Study. The survey is open through the end of July. We will share the results immediately with all participants, along with the additional research we generate through the course of the year from this study. Once you’ve completed the 20-minute survey, we’ll also share the output from last year’s Sales Performance and Productivity Study: the 2014 Strategic Themes Digest, which identifies and illuminates the strategic issues faced by sales leaders for sales operations, training, enablement, and technology; and our summary Research Note The Next Level of Transparency, which highlights the power of productivity data in strategic analysis and decision making.
 
Posted: 7/16/2014 6:00:22 AM by Joe Galvin | with 0 comments
Filed under: Productivity, Sales


Are You Hiring Salespeople With the Right Skills?

They say that the only constant is change. That’s certainly true in sales. New sales technologies, changing economic conditions, mergers and acquisitions, product innovations … the drivers of change are never-ending.
 
One thing that hasn’t seemed to change much over the years is the way managers assess new-hire candidates. Sure, every now and then, someone from HR will introduce a new personality-assessment test. But no matter how interesting and informative the results may be, they still take a back seat to the one thing that hiring managers want to see most – a track record of performance.
 
This focus on results over behaviors is one of the reasons we end up with sales organizations that rely on the output of one or two star performers while the rest of the team is mired in mediocrity. From the very first interaction with a new sales professional, we’re sending the message that all we care about is results. We don’t care how you got there. We don’t care whether you leveraged new technologies. We don’t care whether you shared any of your best practices to improve the performance of the rest of the team.
 
It’s not that results are unimportant. They are critically important, but to hire the best candidate, a few other questions need to be asked. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
 
What kind of team selling did your previous position require?
 
How did you leverage sales technology to improve performance?
 
What sort of sales methodology did your previous employer use, and how did it impact performance?
 
What are some of the best practices you follow?
 
How did you share new knowledge and ideas with other sales professionals in the organization?
 
Even if your candidate achieved 150 percent of goal every year, your drawing a blank on the majority of these questions is not a good sign. The new world of sales needs professionals who know how to be a team player, collaborating with others and sharing ideas through the use of technology. Anything less, and we’ll just keep struggling with the same challenges year after year.
 
Posted: 7/14/2014 6:00:29 AM by Siegfried Kreuzer | with 0 comments
Filed under: sales, sales professional


The Biggest Inhibitors to Sales Success

Consider this scenario.

The first physical meeting with a new customer has been scheduled. To prepare, the account manager invited a colleague from solution sales and an industry expert. A few emails were exchanged and they finally meet for the first time in the customer’s lobby. A quick discussion ensued on who is saying what. All three had a story to tell, but these stories were neither well aligned nor tailored to the customer’s context and concepts. The sales team talked about products and services without having a real conversation with the customer about their issues. Did they provide a winning perspective for the customer? Probably not.

This is just one example of what can get in the way of sales success. There are different inhibitors to sales success in different organizations and in different industries, depending on what and how you sell and how radically the customers’ expectations changed from buying products to achieving measurable business outcomes. There are several different perspectives that come into play when looking at this issue, but one statement is true without any doubt: It’s never just one inhibitor that stands in the way of sales success.
In our 2013 Sales Performance and Sales Productivity Study, the biggest inhibitors to sales success were the following:
  • Communicating value messages and competition - 22%
  • Pricing - 22%
  • Challenge of complex buying requirements -- 19%
  • Inability to attract new clients - 15%  
These four inhibitors covered 78 percent of the inhibitor space.
  
All four are closely connected to each other. If sales professionals are not able to communicate the right value messages to prospects and clients at the right time during the customer’s journey and to the right buyer roles, the other inhibitors are logical consequences.

Value messaging goes south when there is no dynamic messaging framework in place that helps people to tailor messages to the different stages along the customer’s journey and to different buyer roles. When that happens, sales professionals are more likely to find themselves in a competition-driven, price-focused buying process. If customers don’t recognize a significant differentiation in terms of outcomes — which sets a provider apart from the competition — the buying process will make all providers look the same.

Buying environments and requirements become more complex every day due to two elements: (1) an increasing number of impacted stakeholders, and (2) more risk-averse and more financial-results-driven buying processes. Both elements increase buying complexity and buying dynamic. Product value has to be translated into the buyers’ different worlds regarding business results and wins. If all these challenges exist, the fourth challenge, the inability to attract new customers, follows.

Around this time of the year, sales organizations prepare for their strategic planning process in the fall. Sales performance and sales productivity are key metrics to be improved upon continuously. Many data points are relevant, e.g., results of your current initiatives, adjusted roadmaps, latest trends in the industry, and specific sales challenges and how they are addressed in other organizations.

Help us to help you and invest a few minutes to participate in our 3rd MHI Research Institute Sales Performance and Productivity Study 2014. The SPPS 2014 is focused on sales operations, sales enablement, sales training and sales technology. We want to learn more about the scope and the trends regarding sales productivity in different functions. Furthermore, we want to understand your current and future investment priorities. A special focus this year is on the role of frontline sales managers and how well they are equipped, and on the different initiatives driven in sales enablement and/or sales training.

What you can expect from the study as a participant
The findings of the SPPS 2014 will help you as a participant to understand those sales productivity core themes and trends, as well as the related investment trends. Furthermore, the findings will help you with data to support your strategic planning for 2015 in your organization regarding trends, scope and investment priorities.

What’s in it for you - immediately?
In return for investing your time to complete this survey, you will have immediate access to a collection of research published by the MHI Research Institute, the Strategic Themes Digest, and an invitation to our participants' webinar that will feature the results in October.

Click here to get to the study – it’s open through August 1, 2014.
Thank you very much for participating!
 
Posted: 7/9/2014 6:00:00 AM by Tamara Schenk | with 0 comments


Offensive or Defensive Strategy: Which Works Better in Football (and Sales)?

Four of the world’s best teams will be competing for the World Cup and to prove their football (soccer) supremacy. So what really makes these four teams so successful, and what is the link to the sales environment?

Strategy in football is about playing behavior and tactical alignment of the match system. Varying formations provide the base of the strategic direction of a game depending if a more defensive or offensive strategy is more suitable. Football is a complex system, and the coach has many options as to which positions the most suitable players will cover, analysing the team’s and the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as soft factors such as condition, climate, well-being of the player, team spirit and collaboration, plus the ability to apply the corresponding tactics to the concept of the opposite team. Similarly, a complex B2B sales environment is influenced by constant change, highly competitive environment, and varying options for all participants. Much like players taking positions on the playing field, so in every sales process are there various decision-making roles involved. In football and in sales, it is important to be aware of the competitive counterparts. Only then is it possible to adapt the winning strategy by applying the necessary tactics.

Offensive strategy
The aim of the competitive game of football is scoring as many goals as possible. This would mean being at the front with a focus on forward play, using corners as an excellent way to turn offensive opportunities into goals. Having as many goal chances during the 90-minute playing time could result in having the highest points and, ultimately, winning the game. In complex sales there is also limited time, effort and resources for the varying sales activities, so it would be wise to consider an offensive forward style as a possible sales strategy. Select those opportunities worth pursuing by considering the fit to a pre-defined customer criteria, the status of the buying process, or by identifying the positions involved in the sales decision-making process.

Defensive strategy
Although one could argue that “the best defense is a good offense,” winning in football is all about ball possession and being in control of the pace of the game through close team collaboration, thus influencing the amount of scores and conceding goals during the game. In sales, being defensive would mean to be mindful of your resources and assessing your success options – even if that means to win or lose fast. You need to be aware that the customer has choices, such as to buy from somebody else, invest the budget for something else, do nothing, or use internal resources.

Understanding your customers’ needs and providing a solution to them will provide you with the opportunity to be more in charge and in control of the sales process.

The optimum solution is frequently somewhere in between: In order to win and to be the best – equally for both sales and football – it is important to collaborate as a team as well as to differentiate by applying a unique “art of selling”—or football—to the (sales) game. Wishing all the teams a fair and successful World Cup – may the best team win!
 
Posted: 7/7/2014 6:00:00 AM by Alexandra Siebert-Herzig | with 0 comments


Sales Enablement and Technology – The Change Gap

How many Microsoft Word or Excel features do you really use? Ten percent, 20 percent? Most Office users will never write a book and they will also never use more than the basic arithmetic. It’s similar with sales enablement technology, but it doesn’t need to be like that, if the change gap can be closed.

Sales enablement technology is a growing industry
The sales enablement technology industry’s big providers offer sophisticated services that go far beyond the initial enablement and collaboration platforms focused on content: There are sales process modules, integrated to marketing automation; collaborative, workflow based plug-ins for CRM systems; and all services are available on all devices – a perfectly integrated world. Furthermore, niche providers join the market with shiny new apps, etc. But there is a gap between creating good value with technology and being able to leverage technology’s full potential to create much bigger value.

Sales enablement’s core challenges
Listening to the customer success stories at a recent conference, I noticed that the speakers mostly talked about implementing enablement and collaboration solutions, providing and improving content, and developing interactive playbooks. The big integration projects to CRM and marketing automation with instant feedback from buyers were not the primary focus of their stories. Their challenges were people- and change related, e.g., how to establish cross-functional frameworks to drive change across the sales force to be able to leverage technology’s full potential. They shared how they removed collaboration barriers and how they organized and improved content creation, publishing and localization across the organization—all to create significantly more value for the sales force. Those topics define the necessary foundation to drive change, to leverage technology’s full potential, to create significant business impact.

“People don’t leverage the enablement platform”
Whoever worked with salespeople experienced a simple truth: They only use what creates an immediate value for them. Everything else gets little to no attention. Most of them won’t spend much time to rate content or to share their best practices. If they don’t immediately find what they are looking for, they will close the system and call their buddies for immediate help, as they always did. If people don’t understand why they should change to be more effective, they will use new technology like they did the old one. This is where change management comes into play.

Sales enablement is change management
Never start an enablement initiative without a change story. It has to answer the why question from a sales professional’s perspective, plus the question what’s in it for me before you explain the what to do, the how and the when. Change requires internal selling, and salespeople are the most challenging customers.

Even if technology is intuitive, it won’t work without training. Provide short video lessons on how to leverage technology and how to use content effectively. Collaborate with frontline sales managers, work directly with salespeople, and develop “evangelists” to get traction.

Change requires vision, leadership and consequent execution. But leadership is not only a must for the enablement leader. If sales enablement is not a sales leader’s strategic issue, the enablement team alone won’t be able to drive the necessary change. Creating this strategic relevance - driving change from top to bottom - is key to leveraging technology’s full potential successfully.
 
Posted: 7/2/2014 6:00:00 AM by Tamara Schenk | with 0 comments


Coaching Sales Champions – Part 2

Coming back to my theme of football and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where we see 32 teams, built around the most talented players on the globe, compete for the title. Through first-round group qualifications followed by knockout games, two teams emerge to play the final on Sunday, 13 July 2014. Let’s explore what it takes get to and play in the finals, be it football or going through the customer’s selection process for winning the final order. We accept, as noted in my previous blog, sales talent and real teamwork as keys to success. Now, here I want to focus on the strategies, the coaches, and the leadership behind the game.

Exceptional Coaching and Leadership
Taking the best individual sales contributor and promoting him or her into a managerial role is still the most common way of selecting sales managers today. There are numerous flaws to this approach. As sales managers are left to succeed on their own, they replicate how they were managed or else rely on informal and inconsistent mentoring by their managers. Sales managers and, even more so, frontline sales managers, must primarily be able to select, train, lead, coach, and reward their team. “I didn't really want to be the coach who wins but the coach who educates,” says Vicente del Bosque, the only football manager to have won the Champions League with Real Madrid, the European Championship, and the World Cup (both with Spain). Besides being coaches, sales managers are asked to perform another role: that of a customer-management expert, where they’re expected to develop customer relationships, improve productivity, and get involved in strategic initiatives.

Exceptional coaching is based on the customer’s selection process and precisely mapping it to the internal sales funnel. Sales managers establish structure out of the company’s strategy and linking it to the specific sales situation and to the customer contacts involved based on their roles, personal wins, concepts, and current perceptions. For example, during the initial discovery, there will be teaching on effectively uncovering all of the customers’ decision matters and understanding their roles and degree of influence, as well as on identifying the truly important influencer. During client interactions, exceptional coaches let their team drive the engagement while finding the balance between actively contributing and still providing constructive feedback to help their sales team advance the sale, improve their capabilities, and finally win the order.

Clearly illustrating the challenge is this from our Sales Best Practices Study: “Our management team is highly effective in helping our sales team advance sales opportunities,” to which 96 percent of World-Class participants agree, compared to only 43 percent of All Other respondents. This represents a greater thantwo-fold gap, which demonstrates the importance of actively developing frontline sales managers into exceptional coaches and sales leaders.

Who will win the football World Cup in 2014? I am confident it is not the team with the most talented players. All great teams have exceptional talents. In sales as in football, the difference is made through real teamwork and exceptional coaching. Developing talent into exceptional players and giving them a clear role within the team is the start. Exceptional coaching, in sales and football, is aligning the team along a well-communicated strategy and having educated players with the ability to quickly adapt based on imminent changing situations. Be on the watch for these teams and you will be seeing the new football champion of 2014.
 
Posted: 6/30/2014 6:00:00 AM by Klaus Leutbecher | with 0 comments


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