Archive for August, 2012

Are You a Leader?

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

by Sue Novicki

True leaders are the key to solid management and success for a company.

Every leader should be developing their team to get their people to the next level. A strong leader is also working on his/her replacement in this development.

The definition of a leader is someone who has the ability to get people to want to do what you think is necessary for success.

During one of my trips last week with a client I did a half-day managers training and I talked about one easy thing that can help spur managers to become more than just a manager but instead to be a true leader.   Working with sellers to close business is the key and this all starts with the “one on one” meetings. This meeting cannot be a rundown or “laundry list” of pending and new leads. How is that developing a person? Instead the meeting has to be about asking the right questions – getting deep in how the sellers are working with their accounts. Are they doing their homework so that the conversations with the decision-makers are about helping them with an issue that they have – maybe even before they know they have one? Are they focusing on the client and not pushing their products? If a manager is just asking about the leads and what is pending, how do they know if the rep is pitching an appropriate program?

Here are some questions that can help to develop your staff and work with them:

  1. What is the title of the person that you are talking to? What is their area of responsibility?
  2. How many people have that title in the company? Who does this person report to?
  3. What have you learned about the company? What is their focus right now? When is their fiscal year? Are they in the planning stages right now?
  4. Have you seen something that they are doing that we could help them with? What would that be?
  5. Have you prepared questions to ask the decision-maker for the needs analysis conversation? Let’s review them.

Of course there are many more questions but these questions get salespeople to think more about the client, get them more prepared for their call, and it gives them the confidence to talk intelligently and have a successful conversation with the outcome being a homework assignment. If they can’t answer the questions you are asking, get on the phone, get online and work with them on preparation. This is also an appropriate way to work with your sellers, a positive do with way

The Phone is Your Best Friend

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

by Ginny Speaks

To catapult your sales into 2013, now is the time to spend more hours committed to making phone calls and connecting with decision makers to discuss next year’s plans. As Kathrine blogged a couple weeks back, most companies work 6-9 months out and budgets are being determined now for next year.

How do you get your fair share? Make a hit list and double the time you have been spending on the phone. Treat this August and September as valuable time to plant seeds for an abundance of growth for next year. The phone can be your best friend and land you some large dollars, plus it will reduce your frustration, build your confidence and shorten your sales cycle. Take advantage of this knowledge and implement the following phone tips into your daily practice to set yourself apart from your competitors:

  1. Make a hit list of 10 prospects: 5 new and 5 current customers where you can use you current successful relationship to open up new doors in other divisions of the company.
  2. Do your research and homework prior to dialing. Make sure to have at least one bit of information that can start a compelling conversation, such as … “in my research I understand that you have implemented a three prong approach to attracting customers.”
  3. Landscape the lead to locate the key decision makers in marketing, sales and corporate communications. Yes, call three decision makers in their respective divisions!
  4. Call all three contacts and leave compelling messages using the information you gathered in research as a prelude on how it will be to work with you.

To ensure success when you connect, cover the following steps on every call

  • Confirm the person is the decision maker
  • Quantify his or her territory or area of responsibility
  • Establish your credibility by sharing a success story or program
  • Conduct a needs analysis: ask questions, ask questions and ask more questions
  • Get a homework assignment
  • Agree on next steps for follow up

Remember to stay committed no matter what to your plan. Success takes time. Being consistent and following through is where most sellers fail. I leave you with this statistic that I heard the other day that reminded me again of how important it is to be pleasantly persistent.

  • 43% of salespeople make one call and quit
  • 25% of salespeople make two calls and quit
  • 12% quit after three calls
  • 80% of sales are made after the fifth call

Do You Have a Team of Phelps, or a Place for a Maroney?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

by Amber Brown

What can the Olympics teach us about building high performing media sales teams?  Maybe I’m a bit delirious after 5 nights of marathon Olympic coverage; however, it seems fitting to make a few observations about what we might learn about building effective sales teams from the 2012 London Games.

Consider this, most modern sales reps are expected to sell, or compete, or perform on many stages. They are expected to be experts day in and day out in traditional media, business development, agency business, digital and social media, events and so much more. For the better part of the last decade, conversations have swirled around the best way to achieve maximum performance in traditional media disciplines while new media emerges. We often expect reps to adapt to be experts in all.

Can you have a whole team of Michael Phelps?

Olympic teams are often made up of only a few — all around superstars, semi-specialists and a few extreme specialists.  Watching McKayla Maroney of the women’s gymnastic team do vault was amazing. Even more amazing is that of a team of five, her only job was to perform 5 vaults, her specialty, and nothing else. A 5 vault Olympian! Of course, she had to be good in all of the events to even have the opportunity to make the team.

Today’s sales reps are asked to be all around performers in many disciplines. However, at the end of the day, the question becomes is there a place for a few specialist on the team (those sellers that excel at one or two areas of the business and get it done for the overall sales goals)? Or do we beat reps up to when they hit budget in one area, but fall short in other areas?

Maybe sales teams and budgets should be built around reps’ specialties to achieve overall performance of the entire team.   As I said, a rep still has to be versatile overall, but maybe building out a team with specialists in certain disciplines is worth exploring. For example, sales reps that excel in online and agency, or NTR and local direct business, with budgets that match.

I’m likely oversimplifying the comparison between Olympians and sales, but you can’t help watch the team events and wonder if maybe there is something to a specialist or two. Having hired and coached a few Phelps-like sellers in my career, I can appreciate how special it is to have just one on your team!