Mike Cardinal has released the final article in our Proactive Sales Management series titled The Finishing Touches.  This article completes our 3 part Summer series which defines 3 basic steps in structuring a sales department that acts, well, proactively instead of reactively.

An excerpt:

A simple but effective way to ensure flexibility within your sales department€™s foundation and structure is to utilize information available to you. Many of our clients take the insight they learn from our assessments to customize and add finishing touches to the communication style utilized with each individual.

Each salesperson has a blend of traits, styles, skills and motivations that need to be considered.  The sales manager sets the tone for the department and essentially €œfinishes€ the look of the department.  Yet, the sales manager also needs to understand the influencing factors associated with each individual to receive their full effort.

Some salespeople require a strong, bold approach while others thrive in a data-driven, detached style.  Many are rewarded by money, while others are motivated by status and recognition.  The sales manager who understands these fine details about his or her team is the one who puts the perfect finishing touches on the sales organization.

Please read the entire article.  And in case you missed the first two articles:

Part 1 – The Foundation of Expectations

Part 2 – The Structure of a Selling System

Part 2 in our 3 part Proactive Sales Management series has been released.  It is titled The Structure of a Selling System and continues the homebuilding analogy by comparing a selling system to the framing of a house.

Just to give you a taste:

It took me awhile to understand what was going on and why some of the things I was required to do were important. The key to the training was to understand and use a proven sales process. Tom assured me of success if I stayed within this structured approach. He also assured me I would fail if I didn€™t use the process and techniques that had been refined by those who preceded me in this role. Tom told me repeatedly, €œThis structure and approach works.€

As an example, here are some of the questions from Tom€™s structured system:

  • What lead them to consider our product or service?

  • Who are the people making the decision?  Are their any hidden decision makers?  What does the decision-making process look like?

  • How will the purchase be financed?  Sale, lease? Any special terms & conditions?

  • When will delivery be required?

  • What other are products are being examined?  What attracted the buyer to those products?

  • Does the ROI make sense?  Has a cost justification been made? Is one required?

A funny thing happens to reps when they get asked these questions consistently €“ they go out and qualify the information from their prospects (as I learned to do). As Tom would say, €œEverything in this structure will have to happen at some point in the sales cycle. You might as well do it now, rather than later, or when it€™s too late. Spend your time on deals that will happen, don€™t waste your time on deals that won€™t, or on deals we don€™t want.€

As they say, read the whole thing.

The Independence Day week must of got the best of me since I forgot to mention an article we released.  The Foundation of Expectations is the first article in a 3 part series regarding proactive sales management.

The hiring tension that is building within our economy means that retaining strong salespeople, always a corporate priority, will become the focal point for most companies.  This article series will lay out the building blocks for creating a strong sales department that keeps the sales team engaged.

The strongest houses are built on the strongest foundations.  No matter how well-constructed and reinforced the walls and roof are, none of it will stand under stress if the foundation is weak.  Conversely, a strong foundation will help strengthen an imperfect structure.

The success of individuals on your sales team and the direction of your sales efforts are directly linked to the strength of the foundation of expectations the sales manager establishes for his or her team.

Click here to continue reading…

We’ve just released a new article regarding a popular topic in this present market – How to Lose Strong Sales Candidates. The job market has definitely shifted to the candidate’s favor since there are more sales positions available than strong salespeople. Companies that want to make the best hires need to avoid 3 important missteps in their sales hiring process.

Please read the article to learn what the 3 missteps are and how to avoid them.

We had a chance to contribute to an article that appears in Ragan’s Management Resource’s newsletter Employee Recruitment & Retention this month. The article is titled Experts explode the HR industry’s biggest myths and reads like a collection of short essays on many surprising HR/hiring topics.

My contribution (I get the byline though Lee assisted me) involves debunking the conventional wisdom that all good salespeople are extroverts. Nope, that isn’t true. The tease:

My advice would be to look at a salesperson’s qualifying skills in the hiring process as opposed to their linguistic mannerisms. Watch for their ability to ask pertinent questions regarding the opportunity. Some candidates will be outgoing, jovial, and entertaining. And they will prefer to hear their own voice over that of anyone else in the room. At the end of the interview, they will have talked much and asked few, if any, questions. What did they qualify about the opportunity?

The author, Frank Sennett, has provided us with a complimentary copy of the article to share so you can get a taste of the articles offered in the Employee Recruiting & Retention newsletter. Please read the entire piece – it is an entertaining read with sound advice from many experts.

We released a new article today titled Finding Sales Candidates with the RIGHT Talent. “Talent” is a hot buzzword right now and since we measure it, we thought it would helpful to share some of our findings.

Suffice to say, most hiring managers believe it is best to hire the candidate with the most overall talent. While this approach is certainly better than hiring someone with little talent, there are still pitfalls to avoid. As you have probably ascertained from the article’s title, we target candidates with the right talent for the position’s requirements.

We have a new article that has been released today – Sales Hire Misfires. This short article covers 2 important process errors we often see in sales hiring. Eliminate these two errors and you greatly improve your chances of a successful hire.

We just released a new article this morning titled Selecting Salespeople from Outside Your Industry. This article is tactical in its approach to finding transferrable skills amongst sales candidates who do not have direct industry experience.

This topic is one we are constantly promoting, but we have no doubts it is becoming the most important topic in hiring. The candidate pool is shrinking, not growing, as the boomers exit the workplace.

Some companies still subscribe to “shark tooth sourcing.” Sharks can lose a tooth without fear since they already have developed, duplicate teeth lined up in their jaw to replace the lost tooth. Many companies still expect sourcing to occur in a similar fashion. They expect to see many candidates with extensive, direct industry experience.

Measured talent and transferrable skills are the future of successful sales hiring. Please read the article as we lay out 3 fundamental tactics to successfully executing this process.