C-Suite Network™

Best Practices Management Personal Development Sales

Help Me…To Help You.

If you’ve ever read an article you liked from me, thank you (whether you hit a “like” button or not). To keep the research-based quality of my articles up, I need something from you.

Here’s the thing:  The time I spend writing is dwarfed by the time I spend reading and studying.  I want to be the person who can consume information and curate key insights for my readers.

One of My Main Resources is You.

Indirectly, at least. I have been called a data hound. Sure, I read a lot of books from authors in the fields of economics, marketing, psychology, leadership, and more. I also consume research, and always have. Research is built when people like you invest your time in a researcher’s data gathering.

A key research source that I use in my articles is CSO Insights.  They are the pre-eminent research house for sales intelligence.

  • They have the world’s foremost authorities on Sales Enablement
  • They conduct the world’s most complete and insightful research on Sales Operations.
  • They have the world’s most sophisticated tracking data into best practices in B2B sales.
  • They are the world’s best resource for benchmarking data. They help you answer questions like “is my attrition rate something I need to do something about?”
  • Their Study of Sales Performance helps leaders know what works and what doesn’t.
  • They study buyers.  Because of CSO Insights, I can keep up-to-date on how buyers want to buy, and what kind of sellers they want to buy from.
  • Their data drives talent and hiring tools to help you hire the right people, and put them in the right roles.
  • They produce the information I use to help clients put the right analytics in place.

In short, these are researchers who build the data you need most in order to do your job.  When people contact me for advice or help, it’s informed by this research, among other things.  I’m grateful for all of those in years past who have contributed their time.

You Need Me on That Wall.

Even if you don’t want to read research yourself, you benefit from it.  When you read my articles, you are consuming this research indirectly. If you find value in what I write, you benefit from CSO Insights’ work product.  For those who have asked me for insights, I have an admission:  it’s not just my brilliance.  My advice relies on people who gather hard information.

Please help me to help you. This year’s Sales Practices study is open, and I respectfully ask your help by participating. Especially if you’re in a leadership role in the sales, sales operations, sales enablement, or corporate management disciplines.  I know that surveys are tiring, but this one’s important..

And I Need You…Your Time, at Least.

For those who wonder if this is going to lead to a sales solicitation, the answer is no.  I will repay your time with mine if you want, though. Use this link and, if you provide your name, I’ll not only send you my personal thanks, I’ll make sure you have access to research reports (if you want them.).  Following up with all of you who respond is becoming a time investment, but I am happy to do it. Of course, you’ll also continue to see the research reflected in my articles.

Thank you, and I look forward to being notified that you helped, when you use this link.

Marketing Personal Development Sales

Sales Culture, Elevated.

This article is part three of a three-part series on the future of sales performance.

In parts 1 and 2, I wrote that:

  • CRM alone not enough; in fact, many companies have found it’s the tail that wags the dog.
  • Process, and even more importantly, methodology are real difference-makers. Coaching process and methodology makes performance improvement sustainable.

In this article, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the coaching that drives long term sales success. Sustaining world-class performance is about sales culture; culture that ingrains process into the operating rhythm of the organization. Process and methodology do no good unless they are internalized by a sales organization, and the process of internalizing establishes a strong sales culture. When a methodology becomes the default go-to-customer approach for your organization, it enables the three goals of a sales system:

  1. Drive deal-winning behaviors, not simple activity-based measures.
  2. Re-vector at-risk deals, identifying and mitigating risks with opportunities.
  3. Replicate winning across, raising the performance of all sellers in the team.

Dynamic coaching culture

CSO Insights has conducted extensive research supporting the value of a dynamic coaching culture.  The research shows that companies whose coaching culture captures analytics from successful sales, refines sales data into define winning sales behaviors – then supports sales leaders as they coach those behaviors across the sales force outperform their peers.  Dynamic coaching culture is different than simple coaching:  there is a closed loop between results and how process and methodology is emphasized by the organization.  This loop drives self-sustainment and continuous improvement.

Dynamic coaching cultures experience far superior outcomes than average sales organizations:

  • A higher percentage of these companies meet revenue plan.
  • More reps make quota. The gains come from across the sales force, not just a few high performers
  • Win rates are higher. This means forecasts are more accurate
  • Late loss rates are lower. Fewer of those resource-sucking late losses that ruin sales productivity
  • Staff turnover is lower. Lose fewer of the people you want to keep, rehab more of the marginal performers, converting them to keepers.

A robust self-sustaining coaching culture builds the foundation for two things:

  1. Sales performance. The outcomes above are worthwhile goals in themselves, but…
  2. Self-sustaining culture (manager bench strength, coaching acumen, leadership succession/career path). Building a sales culture to last means building sales careers worth having.

The Past, Present and Future of Dynamic Coaching

Let’s look at where we’ve been, and where we’ve led our industry: coaching on CRM-resident tools.

I’ve worked with Miller Heiman Group (and its predecessor, Miller Heiman) tools for almost 30 years. Success in my business is all about delivering outcomes for clients. The reason Miller Heiman Group is the largest in the B2B space is that we’re the partner sales organizations keep engaged with longer…we have the least leaky bucket…growing our clients is how we grow.

Based upon thousands of client engagements, I can tell you with absolute conviction that the key to long-term success is in not conducting training events, but executing long term change in selling behavior organization-wide.  A successful engagement is almost universally the one with a robust component of sales manager coaching, where front line managers become the primary change agents.

The gold standard of coaching is personally diagnosed and delivered by the front-line sales manager (FSM).  This kind of coaching is high-touch, requiring not only discipline by the FSM, but a corporate capability in developing coaches and prioritizing coaching activity over the many other demands on an FSMs time.

While manager-delivered coaching is preferable, it is not always available at the right time for every deal.  We have also noticed that a large proportion of coaching is on a core set of selling behaviors.  That is, managers tend to diagnose and coach the same behaviors over and over.  With the right methodology and the right CRM system (one that helps track deal-moving behaviors, not meaningless activities), an intelligent coaching platform is possible.

Where you can go:

  • Instead of manager-initiated intervention, how about system-led?
    • Not today’s activity-based prompts. Selling behavior-based prompts…seller actions that moves deals, not activity that occupies selling time
  • A rules engine, based upon 40 years of Miller Heiman Group expertise, which can diagnose those repetitive selling
  • AI/big data capabilities which can take it even further.

Where are You?  Where Do You Want to Go?

When you’re tracking and managing to activities, today’s CRM can work just fine.  On the other hand, when you’re trying to establish a rigorous selling culture with a consistent management cadence, you can more efficiently accomplish the three goals of a world-class sales system::

  1. Drive winning selling actions. This means actions, not activities.
  2. Change deal outcomes more rapidly identify at-risk opportunities and figure out how to re-vector them toward success.
  3. Replicate success. Learn what behaviors predict success in your business, and turn them into a rules engine for your sales tool to automatically recommend.

We Can Take You There

Miller Heiman Group has leveraged over 40 years of sales performance expertise into a powerful set of tools.  They have bundled methodology with a dynamic coaching application, which can be freestanding or integrated with a CRM system. It helps front line sales leaders by lightening the routinized part of their coaching load, allowing them to concentrate their time on higher level opportunity strategy.  Sellers become more effective by building sound selling behavior habits.  Finally, senior sales leaders see improved results, and have insight-producing analytics into how to improve sales even more.

I’m excited about this new capability, and am thrilled to offer it to clients. Contact me to discuss whether we might drive winning actions, change deal outcomes, and replicate success in your organization.

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