JUNE | ISSUE 83
You do have Time to Upskill Page 20
5 Ways to Shorten Sales Cycles Page 6
What do Top Sales People do to Differentiate Themselves from their Competition? Page 18
NZâ€™S E-MAG FOR SALES LEADERS | WWW.NZSALESMANAGER.CO.NZ
From the Editor J
une is a time of year when the quarter end results should be closely analysed. If it is the end of Q1 or half year, then being behind now should trigger activity to consider what could or should be done differently. If year end is approaching , activity is usually fairly frenzied to close business where possible.
Check out the New Zealand Institute of Sales on Page 14 too. I think such an organisation is much needed and I hope that it is embraced by sales people up and down the country to help elevate the sales profession.the If your results are not quite where you would like them to be at bottom of the article. this stage of the year, then there are two articles in this issue that might help guide your thinking. Elliot Epstein gives his lyrical thoughts on ways to shorten the sales cycle, and Paul O’Donohue’s advice on sales KPI’s is a must read if you are measuring results but not activity.
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THIS MONTH'S MUST READ.................................................................................6 FIVE WAYS TO SHORTEN SALES CYCLES FIVE COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DEVELOPING SALES KPI’S..10 Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can make or break your sales results NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE OF SALES................................................................14 QUESTION OF THE MONTH................................................................................18 WHAT DO TOP SALES PEOPLE DO TO DIFFERENTIATE THEMSELVES FROM THEIR COMPETITION? TWO MINUTE TOP-UP........................................................................................20 YOU DO HAVE TIME TO UPSKILL QUICK FIX...............................................................................................................22 It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell BOOK REVIEW......................................................................................................23 Agile Selling by Jill Konrath EVENTS CALENDAR............................................................................................24 THE CLOSE............................................................................................................25
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5 Ways to Shorten Sales Cycles By Elliot Epstein
According to Qvidian research 2014, only 63% of sales people will make their sales target in FY2014.That leaves over a third of you either auditioning for your manager, in the tap section of So You Think You Can Dance, or connecting with a dozen more recruiters on LinkedIn.
1. Stop talking to the Flunky
Your main mid-level contacts have limited budgets and authority. They don’t know everything that’s going on in their organisation. When they say, “I have no budget for 12 months” - it’s probably true, and simply an inconvenient fact. Your mother didn’t even carry you in the womb for that long, so why gestate him for 12 months in a long sales cycle? Start talking to C Level and get your whole organisation involved. They will be able to move faster than a politician at a babyphoto shoot if your solutions can help their business. 12 months becomes three if the right executive hears your potent story.
2. Use the client’s balance sheet One company went back to their client and asked how the financial return or ROI was on their implemented solution. The client smiled like a kid who got away with farting in Science class and said, “Oh, we virtually paid for it in six weeks.” The sales manager said, “Six weeks! Fantastic, but why did you bash us around for weeks for reduced pricing if you knew f you managed to reach or the ROI was that good?” The client smiled again (must be an exceed quota, well done. It on-going flatulence problem) and said, “Just part of the game was probably harder than - we knew we could delay and push you against your quarterly targets - bit of fun really.” ever though, and one of the key culprits is the ‘Long Sales Find someone who can read a proper balance sheet: a Cycle’ - the Golden Staph of director, your CFO, or your weird Uncle Archie who likes over Selling. Here are my top five 50s Singles Ballroom Dancing at the RSA, but also happens ways to shorten sales cycles: to be a qualified Chartered Accountant.
I 06 |
Nothing shortens the sales cycle more than when you walk in with financial proof that every month the delay is costing them money or poor return on Assets/Capital/Cash Flow.
prospects more than we keep our favourite pair of worn, deelasticised, comfy undies. Yes, the red ones. Poor qualification leads to long sales cycles, and forecasts that are about as accurate as those from the Bureau of Meteorology - the place where pathological liars are sent for work experience.
3.Qualify like a Reality TV Show
“Based on our initial meeting/s, before we go any further the budget for this is typically around $300-$500k. Are you happy to continue talking?”
If you’ve watched any of the talent shows on TV, you know they are ruthless in weeding out the people who can’t cook, sing, dance or walk a catwalk. They even flaunt it for their own glory by showing you brief shots of these insecure, destroyed souls who missed out on the chance to burn a souffleé on national television. Anyone who has been to an audition knows that it’s more ruthless than an ICAC investigation into Grange Hermitage (nb: Penfolds, do I get a 1959 bottle for the free plug? Happy to write a thank you note.) Despite Bid/No Bid Systems, Sales Meetings and Forecasts, qualification is still done poorly. Mostly it’s because the pipeline isn’t big enough, so we hang on to
Let’s have the courage to ask prospects questions like:
“We have three experts coming off projects in June who will then be allocated for the next major client assignment. What are your thoughts on that timeframe?” If the answers are positive, you’ve shortened the sales cycle. If not, you can still keep them warm, but they’re not part of a long sales cycle because they have qualified themselves out. Your hairdresser, masseur, car mechanic; they all do this effortlessly. There’s no need to be squeamish about, “Are you ready for us or not?” As the great philosopher Beyoncé said, “If you like it you should have put a ring on it.” Stop being the clingy, needy boyfriend or girlfriend. Move - or move on.
4. Get your Really Senior Management Involved In my work consulting on major pitches, we have seen tremendous results by getting your CEO, Regional Director, Global CEO or Chief Superintendent of Intergalactic Greatness to call the client. Depending on the situation, he or she may say one of the following things to your client’s senior management: ‘My people have been working with your people for 6 months – this has global visibility at our end and the ROI seems to be less than 12 months. What’s the hold up or what hasn’t my team done to prove this yet?’ www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz |
Shortening sales cycles is like sticking to the speed limit to avoid penalties. It will often become evident You have more control that they should have ordered this thing in 1978 to get the than you think. results they want. Too many 'I’ve just come back from a meeting with one of your competitors who implemented our solution months ago. Help me understand why this appears to be dragging on so long?'
sales people do the opposite by promising that they’ll expedite things to help.
All that does is take the 'With respect, I can’t give you our global expert, Rita, any further without some understanding of where and when this is pressure off the client to going?'. Basically, it’s the Jerry Maguire moment, ‘Show Me commit, because she knows you’ll run around like a Coke The Money.’ addict (not the Cola kind) to get things done - even if they delay decision making. Stuff We have used this to help win pitches for years. that for a game of Monopoly! Show them the real timeline NOW _____________________________________THEN - the one with in-built You work backwards from ‘THEN’ - the point in time where protection, assurance and they indicate they need to see a result in cost reduction, quality - and ask them if they implementation, cash flow improvement, customer acquisition want to get a 457 Visa for Dr - or whatever their Holy Grail is. Who to Time Travel back so You then fill in the blanks with, for example: they can meet the deadlines, or if they want to simply place • 6 weeks to implement and train the Purchase Order now. • 5 weeks for testing
5. Timeline on a Whiteboard
• 7 weeks for procurement and shipping • 2 weeks business analytics • 4 weeks stakeholder engagement and signoff
Shortening sales cycles is like sticking to the speed limit to avoid penalties. You have more control than you think. •
If you want behavioural change in your team, not material that is ‘feel good’ and then forgotten, and you want it rapidly, find out more from Elliot Epstein 08 |
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Five Common Mistakes to Avoid when Developing Sales KPI’s
Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can make or break your sales results Words by Paul O’Donohue
010 | www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
KPI’s are the vital navigation instruments used by managers and leaders to understand whether they are on course to success or not. The right set of KPIs will shine light on performance and highlight areas that need attention. Here are five common mistakes when developing sales KPIs:
1. Focusing only on financial KPI’s Sales are all about reaching financial KPI’s that the company has budgeted for. But it is a mistake to focus purely on financial KPI’s to drive sales as these are outcome focused. If you want to influence sales outcomes you need to measure the precursors (inputs) to the sale. These are behavioural KPI’s, like the number of phone calls, meetings, proposals etc. When managers focus on holding salespeople accountable on the right KPI’s, sales will grow!
2. Too many KPI’s Have you heard of the phrase ‘paralysis by analysis’? The issues that come from measuring too many sales KPI’s are just that! It is very confusing and hard to hold people accountable to what really matters. If you want to hold your team accountable, less is best. Try not to focus on any more than three KPI’s. This sounds easy, but it can be difficult to narrow it down to three that really matter. For example, a recruitment company that we worked with had an overwhelming dashboard. They measured everything possible, but failed to hold their Recruitment Consultants accountable on what really mattered. When push came to shove what really mattered were three KPI’s: 1. Number of job orders to fill 2. Candidate interviews with client meetings
3. Measuring activity without measuring effectiveness. An easy trap to fall into is to measure the activity without considering effectiveness. On a recent client visit, they had a salesperson from a supplier call on them just prior to my arrival. My client took pride in pointing out that the salesperson that just left turns up every month, does not ask any questions, has a general chit chat, does not add any value, and is in and out of the office within minutes. He then proceeds to sit in his car and tick off his call reports! Do you think his company has the right KPI’s in place? The salesperson is obviously measured by the activity on the call report, but not on the effectiveness of the call. Never, ever make a call without an objective!
3. Sales revenue month-to-date This increased the revenue of the company massively because it focused the recruiters on the right behaviour. At the end of the day, nothing really matters unless you have job orders, and candidates in front of the clients. www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz |
Maybe it is time you developed an effective dashboard to help you smash your sales targets. 4. Not setting a pass or fail criteria If you want to create good behaviour within your sales team, they not only need to know the right KPI’s to achieve, but they also need to know what a pass and a fail look like. Having a traffic light system is a great visual way to achieve this. For example, the recruitment company measured job orders per month per recruitment consultant:
Red = Off track (<5 job orders)
Yellow = Needs help (5-7 job orders)
Green = On track (>7 job orders)
5. Lack of visibility
Do you have a dashboard which effectively drives your sales? • What are the key milestones in your sales process that influence the sale? • What is the right activity which drives sales results? • If you had to measure one thing, what would it be?
Visible dashboards in sales are often referred to as the ‘Wall of fame or shame,’ and are a good way of holding salespeople • How can you make your sales activity accountable. For the most part, salespeople are a competitive more visible? bunch and they don’t like losing, so this acts as a system of self-motivation. • What improvements could you foresee if you had this Furthermore, there is nothing better for the competitive in place? salesperson to know that they are smashing their results, their peers and they are all green, because green is what makes them money! As for red, it is like a red card in sports. They don’t want to keep playing if they are getting reds, so they either shape up or ship out (red-carded).
Maybe it is time you developed an effective dashboard to help you smash your sales targets. •
Paul O’Donohue is the Director of sales performance improvement company SalesStar. 012 |
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New Zealand Institute of Sales The New Zealand Institute of Sales has been formed to elevate the sales profession and be the hub of all things sales related in New Zealand, with close industry ties locally and connections overseas. We talked to founder Stuart Edmunds about the Institute.
NZSM: Tell us a little about your own background and experience in sales? SE: I'm originally a Communications and Electronics Engineer and within the Telco/IT world did a number of technical, product marketing and management roles for the Asia Pacific region for Australian and global players. At a point it was suggested (I was thrown!) I might do well over the wall on the 'dark-side', in sales. I can still remember the look of horror on the face of my team at the time when I broke the news. With little idea of what a 'proper' salesperson did, but great wisdom and support from the General Manager, I very quickly fell into the role. Having enough product and technology knowledge, but knowing when to pull back and call in the experts; following through on commitments; constant communication with the customers of all good, and not so good (accompanied with a plan to resolve) news; and not compromising on my integrity or trading on my reputation, would have to sum up my key reasons for turning a steadily declining territory into the top region on the leader-board. Since then I've worked a number of other roles before starting my own company and running that for several years. There is nothing like the cold thrust of a start-up, pulling the sales in yourself and servicing the customer to hone the sales skills.
NZSM: So why did you set up the Institute? If you can't sell yourself, your services and ideas, then give up now! If you're not unemployed, or bankrupt, you soon will be. A surprising number of people are reluctant to learn how to sell, maybe because popular culture views the selling process and person with a combination of disdain, distrust and disgust. Sales people often appear in the media as slick-talking conmen or pitiful sad- sacks. Some of us relate to this through being exposed to repeated poor buying experiences. Paradoxically, the truth is and always has been that selling is the soul of a business. Companies that can't sell go bankrupt. The New Zealand Institute of Sales was formed to elevate the sales profession and be the hub of all things salesrelated in New Zealand, with close industry ties locally and connections overseas.
The New Zealand Institute of Sales was formed to elevate the sales profession and be the hub of all things sales-related in New Zealand, with close industry ties locally and connections overseas NZSM: Who should be a member of the Institute? SE: Thatâ€™s very simple. Sales practitioners who support, manage and lead sales organisations of one or more people. Additionally, those interested in entering the lucrative and rewarding sales profession. Remember, 100 percent of sales come from customers, and without sales you have no business.
NZSM: Tell us about the Institute, how does it work, and what does it offer? SE: We are a membership based organisation where a large proportion of our members will be practitioners; the balance being students, academic faculty, professional trainers, consultants, and thought leaders involved in sales-force effectiveness disciplines. Since its establishment, the New Zealand Institute of Sales has promoted the sales profession through formal certification, practical education programs, and by connecting captains of industry with aspiring sales professionals at award and conference events. www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
Do not look for the silver bullet. It doesnâ€™t exist! Persistence, focus, resilience, deliberate, conscious and ongoing learning and (shock) customer focus. Sales are a human thing Google 'sales', 'selling', or a myriad of other search inputs, and you'll end up with 420 million hits in 0.33 seconds. Thousands of books on the topic are published each year. All this advice and information; it's free or cheap, unlimited and often easy to understand. Putting it into practice, now that's the hard part! None of it helps unless we pick something good, apply it and stick with it. We are emphatically focused on putting knowledge into action. We curate the best knowledge and information available, and attempt through our conferences, awards, education and certification, to generate action from this knowledge. It is only through acting on the knowledge that any organisation generates true value and achieves mastery. The New Zealand Institute of Sales proudly partners with industry professionals and academic trailblazers to establish and support effective sales programs from around the world for professional selling within New Zealand, and - equally importantly - to offshore markets. 016 |
The New Zealand Institute of Sales is committed to developing sales talent, and is working with national accreditation bodies in New Zealand and overseas partners to offer national and internationally recognised qualifications in Sales and Sales Management. Members are drawn from every sector of industry and commerce. From those just embarking on a sales career, through to senior and experienced sales managers, practitioners and leaders, these members share a commitment to upholding the standards of professionalism and integrity that are all hallmarks of sales success.
NZSM: How will being a member help sales people? SE: Being part of our community will give you access to knowledge, peer support and networking opportunities to help you, your career and your business to grow. You will also have the opportunity to attend conferences; gain access to captains of industry and peers, achieve industry certification, obtain internationally recognised qualifications through our partners, participate in industry awards events, and differentiate yourself as an upto-date professional.
NZSM: What’s the one thing that sales people must consider when deciding whether the Institute is for them? SE: You are responsible for your own career, professional development and achievements, nobody else. For less than a dollar a day you can get access to resources, connections, events, and other member benefits. This sets you apart from other candidates, in your current or next role; as an up-to-date professional owning their own professional development. As an employer, hiring a member, particularly a certified or qualified member, gives you a faster ramp-up time and lowers chance of turnover. Sorry, that's two reasons!
NZSM: What’s your sales secret for the readers of NZSM? SE: Do not look for the silver bullet. It doesn't exist! Persistence, focus, resilience, deliberate, conscious and ongoing learning and (shock) customer focus. Sales are a human thing. It's not Business to Business or Business to Consumer, it's People to People. Delight the customer and watch what happens.•
What do Top Sales People do to Differentiate Themselves from their Competition? Words by Ross Wilson
n the distant past, the successful salesperson was a persuader, a good presenter, and a product/service feature expert. This sales approach suited a market where customers had little information and were eager to buy in an expanding business climate. The problem-solving salesperson had a competitive advantage. Those salespeople discovered clientsâ€™ needs, aligned their resources to their clientsâ€™ problems, and handled buying objections.
018 | www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
Today’s market is very different. Effective sales professionals now play two complementary roles: business consultant to their clients; business strategist to their own organisation. Skills in both of these roles are essential to effective sales performance. Our studies show that sales performance is closely tied to the salesperson’s ability to fulfil both of these roles. In fact, depending on the organisation, between 17% and 67% of the difference between high and low performers is attributable to the difference in these two skill- sets.
When a salesperson wears the Business Consultant hat, his or her focus is on providing advantage to the customer. Today’s salespeople need to add value to their customers’ bottom line. They do this by discovering how the selling organisation can play a strategic role in the customer’s business; communicating credibly with senior executives, and understanding the customer as a value chain, so they can see the sub-optimal steps in the customer’s processes and offer their products as solutions. When a salesperson wears the Business Strategist hat, his or her focus is on providing advantage to his or her own company, by selecting high-yield targets and executing winning strategies. Salespeople as Strategists understand that the cost of sale is greatly influenced by their win/loss ratio. They make sure that, before pursuing an opportunity, they know that the customer is willing to buy from them, will buy, and will buy soon. A Strategist is not only keenly aware of the competition, but understands their sales strategies, and creates an environment where the competitor’s strengths become their weaknesses. Business Strategists know that once they choose to pursue an opportunity, they must use all of their ability and resources to win. They also know that it is better to walk away from an opportunity before a large investment in time and resources is made when the chances of winning are slim.
Ross Wilson helps organisations improve business and human performance.
You do have Time to Upskill Words by Sean D’Souza
magine I told you I could give you 400 hours of time. Time you could spend doing nothing but learning. Learning a new skill. Or getting relevant information. But where could you get 400 hours of undisturbed time? In your car, that's where! Take the time to learn while you're on the road, rather than just sitting and listening to the idiotic dribble on radio. • You don't need to hear the latest news. • You don't need to hear Chopper Dave as he gives you the traffic report. • You don't need to listen to the blathering of yet another politician. • What you need to do is improve your skills, while on the move.
Now, you may consider yourself a ‘non-audio’ person
Here's my answer to your question You don't have to write down a word. You just have to listen. Then, play the audio back on the next trip, and the next trip, and, as you guessed the next trip as well. When I started out in business, I'd listen to the same audio as many as 50 times. Yes, that tape (we had tapes back then, remember?) wouldn't even flip to Side B. Side A would play on and on.
There's a reason for this endless loop
You used this concept when In fact, it's more than likely that some of you don't really like to you learned a language as listen to information on audio. You'd prefer to read a PDF, or a a child. You heard the word book, or watch a video. You like to take notes while learning. If 'carbon', for instance, and you had to hear it several times you're driving, you can't possibly do that, can you? -and then with reference to several other objects and situations - before you could accurately associate the word 'carbon' with its right meaning and usage. 020 |
If you’re serious about becoming an expert, here’s what you need to do: move to audio. Every time I was listening to the same tape, I wasn't necessarily hearing the same information. I was creating new associations. I hear things I missed the first time. I'd hear things I'd misunderstood because I couldn’t take in all the information all at once. The more I listened, the better I got at understanding the concepts of business. Every person on this planet who drives, or goes for a walk, or spends his/her time huffing and puffing should improve their skills by listening to audio.
But guess what? All I ever hear are excuses. People tell me why they can't do this, and can't do that. Well, I've heard all the excuses. And if you're driven enough, you can put those excuses in the trash can -and make sure it goes out on garbage day, because the excuses are costing a lot.
So how much is 'a lot'? Consider that a full- day live workshop is often no more than six hours long, and most people drive about two hours every day. This means they're driving about 12 hours a week. That's two workshops a week. If you were to work only 35 weeks out of 52 weeks in a year, you'd be doing the equivalent of 70 whole days of workshops.
You see, you do have time. But your excuses are bigger than your time. If you can sidestep that mountain of excuses you'll have more time than ever before, and here's why! 1. You'll make use of all that time you've been wasting. 2. You'll learn so much that you'll run your business using smarter techniques, thus saving even more time. If you're serious about becoming an expert, here's what you need to do: move to audio. Do some activity while listening to audio. Watch how you become an expert of sorts while doing something else. •
Sean D’Souza is a marketing strategist, speaker, author and the Principal of Psychotactics. www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
Go Take a Walk! Y
ou’ve got a critical client meeting; the stakes are high. You judge the 30 minute car drive to perfection, have ‘The Rock’ on full volume to motivate you, and pole position is vacant in the customer car park when you arrive. You bowl on in to the clients’ reception in a frenzy of nervous anticipation and excitement. Guess what? The first five minutes of the meeting are a bit of a disaster as your nervous energy dissipates. If you are feeling nervous prior to an important meeting, then rather than taking pole position in the car park, park two streets away and walk to the clients office. The five minute walk will relax you. Breathe deeply and your brain will be oxygenated and you will be thinking clearly. As you walk, replace the distraction of the music by visualising how you want the opening of the meeting to go. •
020 | www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
Get up to speed quickly in today’s ever-changing sales world
ales expert Jill Konrath offers powerful strategies for sales proficiency in everchanging situations. When sales people are promoted, change jobs, or face new business environments, they inevitably need to learn new skills quickly.
To succeed in today’s sales world, having go-to systems for rapid information This rapid change is often overwhelming, and sellers face and skill acquisition isn’t an intense pressure from their bosses to deliver immediate only useful, but absolutely results. Their livelihoods are totally dependent on their ability required. Konrath focuses to get up to speed quickly. Sales guru Jill Konrath offers on the meta-skills that will both new and experienced salespeople a plan for rapidly get sellers to high levels of absorbing new information and mastering new skills by sales and proficiency - and becoming agile sellers. ultimately mastery - much faster than their usual Readers will learn the mind sets, learning strategies and methods. Readers who loved habits that they can use in crazy-busy times to start strong the no-nonsense advice in and stay nimble. From time management tools to personal SNAP Selling and Selling to motivation, creativity, and gamification strategies, Konrath teaches sellers how to get more done in less time, regardless Big Companies will find Agile Selling equally valuable. • of the environment.
By Jill Konrath- $35.82 from Fishpond.co.nz www.nzsalesmanager.co.nz
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