4 Ways to Increase Adoption of Your Sales CRM

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The biggest problem with your CRM is that salespeople aren’t using it. And without salespeople on board, a CRM isn’t much help.

If you’re ready to get the most from your CRM, here’s how to get your team on board.

1. Input Data in the System

Without data, a CRM is useless. So, at CallProof, we launch our CRM with data already entered.

We start by interviewing the management. We ask, “If I started working with you today, how many prospects should I have in my database?” If a sales rep doesn’t have prospects, that’s their number one excuse for not using a CRM and for their consequent low activity. We want to eliminate all the objections to using the system. So, once we know how many prospects a salesperson needs when they start, we enter data for them.

We first collect their current prospects’ and clients’ information and enter it into the system. Then we find more prospects from a variety of lead sources. This way, your salespeople start off with a full database of their current contacts, plus new prospects they can reach with the push of a button.

Data is key. That’s why we load the initial data for you.

2. Establish Norms

Once you have the data, establish a process for using the CRM. Every sales team has their own sales opportunity file system or “steps of selling” process. So make sure your team understands classifications of clients and selling sequences. Clarify when a new prospect goes into the CRM — when you first get their information or after you’ve made contact?

Then create norms for classification. How should you identify customers? Do you distinguish between a pharmaceutical lead and a doctor lead? Know how you plan to sort clients. Are certain lead sources classified differently — like trade show leads? When you create a way to see where customers come from, you’ll understand which of your resources work best.

A clear process for sorting clients and understanding the onboarding process is critical. So make time for a management meeting that includes key salespeople to evaluate your process before you train the entire team. First, you have to build the plan. Then you can use the CRM to deploy it.

3. Teach the Process

After you’ve established your methods, we make the CRM work for you. We’ll teach you how it functions best for your company. Via training calls, we show you what the screen looks like when you’re adding a client, what to do when you’re done with a client, how to order notes, and how to sync the emails. We’ll use the app screen and web portal so the team becomes familiar with each CallProof interface.

4. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

We also record each training call so future salespeople have access to the same information. When new sales reps join your team, you’ll be able to onboard them right away with access to the pre-recorded training. We even use a company called Thinkific to host our content and provide a quiz at the end of each video. Why? Quizzes help people focus on the training material. Without them, they aren’t as engaged. So we help you hold your team accountable.

With intentional data and training, we make adopting CallProof an easy transition for your business. CRMs don’t have to be a struggle for your sales team. When a CRM really works for you, adopting it is easy.

4 Simple Strategies for Becoming a Better Sales Manager

becoming a better sales manager

No one likes having a manager. People like being a manager – keeping control, checking on everyone – but very few people would choose to be managed.

In sales, we think of managers as the bosses who make sure everyone else is doing their job. They monitor the team, hold others accountable, and deal with problems. But the best managers never need to check in. Why? Because they know what happens in the field without having to ask. They follow the activity of their sales team.

Strong, active salespeople leave a trail of sales and activity in their wake. Sloppy salespeople leave a mess behind them. Either way, a manager knows what’s happened based on CRM data re: calls and appointments.

If the manager ever has to ask a salesperson what they are doing, it means they aren’t doing anything. It’s like they’re sitting in a boat in the water without going anywhere – there’s no wake, no ripples, no activity.

So, if managers already know what’s happening, then their job needs to make a shift. It’s time to stop managing and start directing.

Change Your Title

A sales director benefits the organization much more than a sales manager. These words have the power to produce very different results.

Manager implies “boss”, while director implies “guide.”

Rather than manage, supervise, and evaluate, a director coaches and cues individuals to help them become more successful. Sales directors deploy their resources strategically to get the best results.

Cue Your Team

Most people need direction. Consider movie directors. They give direction to each actor and stagehand so that everyone knows the plan and understands when to do their part. Similarly, in orchestras, directors keep everyone on the same sheet of music and cue players at the right time.

A sales director does the same thing. They give direction to their team to produce the best product. Jack Daly illustrates this in the way he teaches about objections. He knows the best salespeople answer objections the exact same way every time. So he equips his team with successful responses to each main objection. Then they hear objections as a cue for their pre-planned response. Consequently, they overcome those objections more often than not.

Strategize to Reach Potential

Directors also empower their teams in a way that’s best for the organization. They figure out the strategies for working with different businesses. Then they put in the right reps at the right time to close sales. Directors come up with a plan, and then coach their team in how to execute it.

Foster a Coaching Relationship

A sales director also fosters better relationships with the team. When you change the title, you change the team’s perspective of the role. Directors act as more of a coach than a boss. Most people in sales are independent – and sales allows freedom. They want to be their own boss, not feel like someone is measuring their every move. When you act like a director, they’re more likely to see you as someone they can turn to for guidance.

With the mentality of director comes a proactive approach to working with salespeople, as opposed to a reactive management approach that only steps in when there’s a problem. So, if you’ve been spending your time managing a sales team, it’s time to change. Become their director so you can lead both your team and your organization to greater success.

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The Sales Manager’s Guide to Working With Millennials

sales manager guide working with millennials

Remember the “Fragile Egg” experiment? Back in Home-Ec class (before the days of automated baby-dolls), students babied an egg for a week. We prepared a shoe box, put tissue in it, and carried a raw egg around hoping no one would bump into us and break it.

Well, that’s what it often feels like to employ a millennial. Delicate. Stepping ever-so-carefully so you don’t “break” them.

Millennial salespeople aren’t always this fragile—everyone is different, of course—but certain issues seem to come up more with this age group. If you want to successfully hire and manage millennial salespeople, here’s your guide to millennials in the workplace.

Challenges to Working With Millennials

My generation grew up with our own struggles and our own challenges. It was the ‘80s. We worked at one job, we didn’t have the internet, and we had to figure out a lot of things on our own. Maybe that’s why millennials can seem hard to manage. We were raised in different worlds. But working together can work if we know how to bridge those differences.

Most of the challenges that come with millennials in the workplace center on the phone. Why? For one, phones bring distractions, and distractions keep people from selling. With incessant buzzing that delivers information, updates, and conversation, it’s difficult to focus on the job at hand.

Start by coaching salespeople who struggle with these distractions. Suggest they cut the problem off at the source by turning off notifications for anything not work-related during the work day. Then, rather than having to resist the temptation to check the chime, they can keep their mind on work.

Millennials also face the challenge of using the phone differently. Their phone use has little to do with talking, and much more with text and emojis. Back in the ‘80s, if you wanted to ask someone out, you called and navigated the nuances of conversation. Now, you swipe left. That being said, millennials may have great potential for phone conversations, but they lack experience. They need you to teach them how to make calls because it’s just not a skill they’ve had to develop.

Top Strategies for Everyday Management

With a predicted 3 out of 4 workers being millennials by 2025, you’ll be hiring one in the not-so-distant future if you haven’t already. And with an average cost of $24K to replace each millennial, you’ll want to make sure you hire the right ones.

Beyond coaching employees in phone use, these three strategies will equip you for navigating your sales manager responsibilities with millennials.

1. Find Their Motivation

Good salespeople want, even need, to prove themselves. When you hire anyone, figure out why they want to work there. Do they want to earn money? If you’re in a performance-driven workplace, that’s who you want to hire. Do they want to be the best? When they see sales stats posted, you want the person who does whatever it takes to be number one.

If you find someone who just wants the flexibility of a sales position, they’re probably not the right fit. 89% of millennials prefer to choose when and where they work rather than working a 9-to-5 job. Make sure the self-directed schedule isn’t the only reason they’ve applied.

2. Encourage a Friendly Culture

Millennials thrive in a relational workplace. They crave the real-world community and a place to belong. So foster a culture of friendship during the workday and after hours. Form a team in a kickball league, or do something else that gets everyone outdoors and active.

In regular operations, change up the sales teams and leaders so people get to know each other. Some companies have Friday lunch together. They all eat together at a certain place and time, and some even cater lunch for the whole office once a month.

Your goal is to facilitate conversations people wouldn’t naturally have. When people (of any generation) feel like they belong to their organization, the benefits abound. They take less time off, they find more motivation, and they stay there longer. It’s really a win for everyone.

3. Balance Criticism With Compliments

Most people don’t enjoy conflict, but it’s particularly avoided by millennials. You’ll inevitably have critiques for your younger employees, so phrase it intentionally and put the criticism in context.  

When I have a new hire, I let them know, “You’ll make lots of mistakes and that’s okay. It’s my job to give you feedback, so you can be the absolute best salesperson.”

Then, when I have criticism, I balance it with compliments. In fact, make the positives outweigh negatives. For every one critique, give seven compliments. This works to soften the blow criticism delivers. It’s not just constructive criticism you want, it’s contextual criticism.

When you hire the right people, shape your office climate, and critique carefully, you’ll help your millennial salespeople find success. Millennials are the most educated generation in American history. And with the right management, they can be a great addition to your sales team.

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5 Must-Read Books for Sales Managers

 

must-read-books-for-sales-managers

Books gravitate to the hands of those experiencing something new: a new city on vacation, a new challenge at work, a new hardship that has you sitting in the hospital. In these transition times, we take ourselves off autopilot. Life becomes less routine and we become more aware. In that awareness, we open ourselves to new concepts.

Reading is all about seeking new ideas. So if you’ve found yourself in a place where you’re searching for information to improve your approach as a sales manager, here are my top five must-reads.

1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Dan Pink

drive daniel pinkWhat motivates us to work hard, achieve success, and feel satisfied? Pink claims the secret is our innate desire to make our own choices, learn and create new things, and to positively contribute to the world. Pink challenges the conventional wisdom of incentivization and encourages leaders to try a fresh approach to motivating your team- an approach that centers on building autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

As you read Drive, you’ll learn more than how to motivate your team. You’ll learn what motivates your buyers. And, people who understand buying behavior make the best salespeople.

 

 

2. Hyper Sales Growth: Street-Proven Systems & Processes – Jack Daly  

hyper sales growth jack dalyIn this book, Jack Daly discusses three important areas that will help your business to grow. First of all, you should work towards building a winning culture in your company. You can do this by creating an environment that motivates your employees to come to work and moving away from the idea that work is boring.

The second area that Daly discusses is Sales Management. As a Sales Manager, you are not supposed to grow sales but to grow salespeople. Increasing the quantity and quality of salespeople will grow your sales as well.

Finally, Daly focuses on sales. He discusses the systems and processes that make the best sales professionals different from the others.

Jack is renowned for offering super-practical advice in his books. Hyper Sales Growth breaks down realistic, actionable steps you can take to motivate your salespeople.

3. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

five dysfunctions team patrick lencioniLencioni provides his reader with an insightful explanation about the struggles that teams experience. According to him, five dysfunctions are the core of the problem. He has created a model and designed actionable steps with which a team can improve itself and move away from common problems.

Once again, Lencioni has published a compelling story with an intriguing yet logical message for aspiring great teams. If you’re a team leader, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team will provide you with a model you can use to improve your team and overcome obstacles.

 

 

 

4. Think Like a Freak – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

think like a freak levittIn this book, Levitt and Dubner take problem-solving to a new level. Through an array of stories, they teach us how to retrain our brains to see the world a little differently.

Their blueprint for solving problems includes putting away the moral compass, thinking like a child, persuading people that don’t want to be persuaded, and appreciating the upside of quitting.  

When we think outside the box, we’re more productive, creative, and rational – which isn’t the norm.

 

 

 

5. Start With Why – Simon Sytek

start with why sinekSome people are successful no matter their plot in life. Others may managed success once but can’t seem to repeat their profit. As Sinek studied global leaders with the greatest impact, he found they all think, act, and communicate the same: they all start by asking, “Why?”

Whereas any business can tell you what it does or how much profit it nets, only a few explain why their organization exists and why it does what it does. These are the organizations that inspire others and generate loyal customers. Start With Why prompts people to ask the “Why?” questions about our products and services questions that make a difference in the entire sales approach.

 

 

 

What books have made a difference in your sales leadership approach? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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Top 4 Ways to Evaluate a Salesperson’s Performance

evaluate salesperson

Evaluating a salesperson’s performance is one of the basic responsibilities of a sales manager. It’s also essential to company success. But how can you do it when sales cycles vary so greatly?

If it takes months to close a sale, do you have to wait until those numbers post to see how your sales team is doing? In short, no. A salesperson’s performance is about more than sales. By tracking these vital signs of sales health, you can measure the success of your team in as little as a week.

The Best Ways to Gauge Success

1. Track Number of Appointments, Calls, and Emails

This is a quick measure of how many connections each salesperson makes day to day. Sales is a numbers game. If you have employees making the calls, sending the emails, and visiting prospects in high volume, their sales will come in high too.

Related: Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

Especially focus on the number of booked appointments. The best sales people use those appointments to get referrals. An increased number of face-to-face meetings almost always indicates a higher potential for success.

2. Qualify Prospects

Salespeople have to quantify booked appointments with qualified prospects. Appointments with people outside the targeted buyer demographic won’t get them far. On paper, they’ll look like they’re doing the job. However, if they aren’t booking the right appointments, they won’t make the sales.

When you’re evaluating their success, consider who the appointments are with. Once you find a value to place on their prospects, you’ll more realistically gauge their performance.

3. Implement a Training Program With an Observer

Set up triangulated sales situations to evaluate your sales team. Create a scenario where the salesperson pitches to a pretend client (played by another salesperson).

Either another salesperson or the sales manager observes the interaction. The client brings up objections and plays hard to get. Then the observer gives feedback about what goes right and wrong during the pitch. This gives you a means of observation and shows salespeople where to improve.

4. Record Sales Calls and Demos

Management needs to record and listen to every sales demonstration and call. Your organization spends good money to book demos, either buying leads or running pay-to-click campaigns. If you’re not intentional, you could have an unqualified salesperson trying to close these hard-earned pitches.

Related: The 4 Biggest Mistakes A Sales Manager Can Make

Listen back to each recording so you can identify the key phases that secure (or kill) sales. As you listen to your sales team, ask yourself, “How do they effectively build rapport? Are they talking to qualified prospects?” In doing so, you’ll separate your top sellers from the ones sabotaging deals.

After You Evaluate a Salesperson

Now that you have the info, use these assessments to boost your sales. Assign point values to the number of calls, face-to-face meetings, quality of prospects, training scenarios, and recorded pitches. Then use those points, combined with actual sales numbers, to rank your salespeople.

Once you know where each member on your team stands, give additional training where it’s needed. If someone’s main struggle is phrasing the pitch, work on semantics. If they’re not booking the right type of prospect, identify key characteristics of the target client.

If a lead comes in tomorrow, who are you going to give it to? The struggling sales rep that doesn’t follow procedure, or the person who considers ROI and follows through? Once you have the data, the choice is obvious.

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Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

sales manager stop micromanaging

You’ve been in the business a while so you understand what it takes to be successful. To hit the sales numbers, people need to increase their volume. A certain number of calls, appointments, and proposals logistically equal an on-target month.

Because you have CallProof, you see how many of these actually happen each day with each sales person. If someone has a bad day, you can jump right in there and tell them to get their act together and their numbers up, right? Wrong.

The best managers fight the urge to micromanage, knowing the best results come when they don’t.

The Data

Managers need to understand what their sales team does each day. To understand each salesperson’s day, you need a tool that shows you their calls, visits, emails, and location. A real-time update of this information paints a relatively clear picture of each person’s probable success.

Related: Fire Your Sales Manager and Hire a Sales Director TODAY

For example, it’s 2:22 p.m. in Nashville when I look at the data for my new sales guy. I should see that he’s talked to about 15 companies, followed up with another 20 to 30 people, and made a couple of proposals in today’s activity. However, if I see he only had one meeting and made three calls, I know he’s off track.

My gut reaction (as a micromanaging sales manager) is to call this guy and say, “What the HECK are you doing?!” and proceed to chew him out for being a terrible salesperson. This will only leave him thinking, “My boss is such a tyrant. Little does he know, I’ve been trying to close a deal all morning.” or “Seriously?! I’m stuck in this sales training that he requires me to take.”

Sometimes there’s a legitimate excuse for bad data. Numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. Great leaders use data as a launching point to discover the truth of what happens each day. They don’t rely on the data as the truth itself.

The Approach

Beating up your sales team for less than stellar numbers won’t get you anywhere. Instead, approach your salespeople with an attitude of encouragement, not belittlement. With these four tactics, you can expect improvement in your sales team’s success.

1. Get Your Salesperson Talking

Use data to know when to check in. If you see that a team member has low numbers for the day, call and say, “How is your day going? What do you think are your biggest challenges this week with getting appointments?” You want to get the salesperson to talk. If he is unmotivated, he knows it. You don’t have to tell him, but your awareness may help him get back on track. If he’s just had a hiccup in the day, you’ve given him the opportunity to tell you about it.

2. Teach Activity

As time goes on, you can help your sales team understand that higher activity equals more success. You can do that by engaging with people one on one. Maybe you say, “I’m so excited that you’re hustling it up. On Friday, let’s go through your calls from the week and talk about your meetings to see what’s working for you and what’s not.” In that setting, you can then address any issues you’ve seen based on his activity reports.

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3. Model Selling

Sometimes a more hands-on approach is necessary. If so, call your struggling salesperson and suggest, “Hey, let’s go on some calls tomorrow. Do you mind meeting me at 8:00? We’re going to go and visit some people. ” Then, you get to teach him how to tackle appointments first hand.

Related: The 4 Biggest Mistakes A Sales Manager Can Make

4. Motivate (Don’t Intimidate)

As a sales manager, you’re there to help your team sell. Scare tactics and intimidation won’t help your team improve their pitch or up their numbers. All it does is create stress and, if anything, hinders performance. Encouragement, however, will raise your team’s confidence and sales numbers.

CallProof provides you with strong data. You can use it to micromanage each employee and eek out sales, but your results exponentially multiply if you use it to revitalize your team. Identify the unmotivated and then encourage them through positive interaction. Make that the number one goal and improvement is inevitable.

3 Ways to Incentivize Your Sales Team This Year

sales manager strategies incentivize team

You made it through the holidays! Your family voyaged home, you recycled the wrapping, and you sipped that last glass of eggnog.

Now it’s time for the new year. What New Year’s resolutions will you make? How will things be different next year and what bears repeating?

The start of a new year breeds self-reflection. As a sales manager, that most likely leads you to re-evaluate how to incentivize your sales team.

1. Money

The most common incentive is money. Yet, money doesn’t motivate as much as we assume it does. In his TED Talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation,” Dan Pink proves that money doesn’t promote the out-of-the-box thinking often needed to do the job. For basic tasks, money works; however, when it comes to creative thinking and new approaches, it won’t do much.

Related: Avoiding Burnout: How To Keep Your Best Salespeople Happy & Motivated

Basically, compensation has to be on par to keep the salespeople around, but it can’t be the primary means of incentivizing sales teams. Money only acts as the baseline from which you can build your incentives.

2. Recognition

More powerful than money, recognition motivates people, particularly millennials. As a manager, do whatever you can to foster this.

First, recognize your top achieving salespeople in print. People want to see their name at the top of the list and know their colleagues see it too. Declaring the “best” pushes your competitive salespeople to strive to be the best.

Once you’ve named the best, treat this salesperson like royalty. The number one celebrity in any business should be the top salesperson. Give them a luxury car to drive around as the company vehicle. It may cost you a little more each month, but it cultivates pride and loyalty.

I’ve seen people pass on highly lucrative job offers because they have a luxury car at their current job. The more you recognize that top person, the more you’ll motivate everyone to vie for the top spot.

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3. Self-Motivation

Incentivizing your sales team works only to a certain point; intrinsic motivation takes achievement to a new level. Hire the salespeople who want to win for the sake of showing off their skills. For them, there’s nothing more fun than proving how it’s done.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

I hired a sales guy one time that was amazing on paper. I assumed he was doing his job, but then realized that he hadn’t made a sale in his first two months. One morning, I brought him into my office to do his cold calls. I left for a little while and when I came back, I saw he hadn’t made any calls. He spent three hours just researching prospects (now CallProof would have done that for him). When I told him to pick one to call, he looked like he was going to pass out. I grabbed the phone, called one of his numbers at random, and booked the appointment immediately. In doing so, I taught him to get over his fear and make the call for the sake of a win.

Years later, I still want my sales team to realize that they can win. I may help them get the courage to sell by providing the money and recognition, but it’s all in an effort to breed self-motivation. Intrinsic motivation drives people like no other incentive can.

So as you think through what worked (and what didn’t) in 2015, consider how to incentivize your sales team in a way that cultivates personal wins. Maybe you pass around an ugly trophy (think: The League) to the top dog each month. Maybe you have team competitions for sales numbers. Incentivizing sales teams is an exercise in creativity.

What strategies have worked for you? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

 

How to Create Your Own Sales Training Portal With Podcasts

podcast sales training portal

A growing company creates problems. In sales, your team plays a central role in that growth – and in creating problems. As the business expands, no longer can you, the owner, spend time mentoring each employee. So how do you continue to provide quality training to all employees?  The answer is simple: a custom built sales training portal using podcasts.

I ran into this problem when I started expanding my wireless stores. I wanted to maintain the culture I had worked so hard to create, but couldn’t possibly meet with each sales rep. Enter my solution: A sales training portal. By creating a library of training podcasts, I gave each employee access to the information they needed to be successful in our company. Consequently, this also boosted our success as a whole.

Why Podcasts?

Podcasts are simple. All you need is a phone or computer that records audio, which comes standard on nearly every device. There’s no need for high-end video equipment, backdrops, and editing professionals. You don’t need “fancy” visuals that, in reality, never end up looking as good as you expected. Podcasts get to the point by allowing you to have a “conversation” of sorts with your salespeople.  

RelatedHow To Effectively Train Millennial Salespeople

Podcasts are also consistent. When you’re taking on new hires, you want to make sure they get access to all the information they need. When you train someone face-to-face, you may give a different spiel from one person to the next, or you may leave out an example that would have resonated with the trainee. Worse, you may delegate the training to someone else and they may change the content itself.

Instead, try this: Make a list of everything it takes for a person to be successful. Paint the story of a day in the life of a top salesperson in your company. Organize your topics, jotting down notes of stories you want to tell and examples you want to give. Then, record yourself explaining this “day in the life” piece on your computer. That recording then becomes your first training podcast for employees.

How Can You Use Podcasts in Your Sales Training Portal?

Podcasts give new hires access to your strategies while also giving current salespeople the chance to learn. You may want to make a podcast that talks about objections to the sale. I learned from Jack Daly that most products only have 10 objections. Successful salespeople handle those objections the same with every client.

For your second podcast, sit down with the top 2 sales reps in your company and ask them how they handle the top 10 objections. For example, when a client says the price is too high, how do they reply? Once you capture their responses on an audio file, your sales team can learn how to navigate those obstacles from the best.

As you record, use stories to your advantage. Podcasts aren’t the medium for technical information, but they work well for relationship selling advice. Stories allow you to show how sales theories work in the real world. Once people hear how you applied a strategy, they can better conceptualize how they might use it in their own sales.

Related: How To Hire Salespeople Within Your Budget

For example, your top salespeople recounting their “Top 10 Deals and How They Found Them” could make a great piece. Maybe they share stories of talking to someone at the gym or grocery that ended up in a sale, or maybe a spouse’s friend referred them a client. These examples connect the dots so green employees can see where prospects fit in their world.

When to Listen

The beauty of podcasts is that they live forever. They also can live just about anywhere. Once you save your audio recording like a podcast, your team can listen to it in the car, at the gym, and wherever else they end up in their daily lives. In fact, an ambitious new hire may listen to everything you have before their first day.

To encourage use of the sales training portal, create an email drip for new hires. Gradually feed them these files over their first few weeks to get them in the routine of listening. For general salesperson training, consider giving them a one-hour recording each week. Then, have sales managers give a quiz at the end of the week to hold them accountable.

We all value a “lifelong learner” in the workplace. Why not make that learning so much more accessible? We’re not talking about PowerPoints and conference rooms anymore. We’re dealing with presentations that keep your attention in the middle of rush hour.

Imagine a brand new employee coming into the office with 20 hours of audio training. Think about the culture of a place where people are striving to get better at their jobs even when they’re on the treadmill. That’s what a sales training portal can do for you.

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4 Great Podcast Episodes to Include in Your Onboarding Process

Of course, we won’t leave you without some solid recommendations on podcast episodes you can include in your onboarding. These episodes will teach your new hire a few tricks to set her on the path to success.

The Startup Chat #14: Cold Email

This amazingly actionable podcast hosted by Steli Efti (Founder of Close.io) and Hiten Shah (Founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg) focuses mostly on startup topics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t glean useful insights from the very experienced hosts. In this episode of the podcast they talk about cold emailing leads and few people are as successful at this as Steli Efti.

Advanced Selling Podcast #321: Networking Tips For Salespeople

The Advanced Selling Podcast hosted by Bryan Neale and Bill Caskey has been going on for over 300 episodes without losing steam. Here’s one great episode on networking and we all could do with more of that – right?

Salesman.red Podcast: When is The Best Time to Close The Sale? With Tibor Shanto

Another excellent podcast stock-full of interviews with interesting guests. Listen to this episode on getting the timing right for closing the sale.

The Sales Evangelist #231: Learn to Use LinkedIn & Sell More

Leveraging your social media presence – and especially LinkedIn – can send your sales soaring. In this episode of the brilliant podcast “The Sales Evangelist” you’ll learn how.

 

How to Finish the Sales Year Strong With A ‘They Said No’ Audit

sales manager strategies end of year

The end of the year is not typically when you do your best work. During “the most wonderful time of the year,” most people become a little more distracted and a little less motivated. You may have a few deals on the line you need to close, but business is slow. Do you let it ride hoping for new vigor at the start of a new year or change your strategy?

The best sales managers take advantage of this extra time. A ‘They Said No’ audit may be your team’s solution to finishing the sales year strong.

Why Should You Audit?

A “They Said No” audit reviews everyone who said no throughout the year and allows you to reach out to them one more time. The worst that could happen is that they say no again.

Too often, we assume when they a prospect said no to you, they said yes to a competitor. In reality, something else usually happened. You could have talked with them during their busy season, so they didn’t have time to follow through. Or maybe they thought they could get a lower quote but never did.

Related: 3 Common Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

If your product solves an issue that comes and goes, they could still be living with the problem. Sometimes they experience an issue only around one time of the year. If that time has passed, they could have just forgotten about it. In any of these situations, an end-of-the-year contact could mean a sale.

For example, let’s say you’re selling for a restoration company. In your area, tornados come about three times a year. If you call the property owners you know now, remind them to be prepared for the storms. Maybe there’s work they need to do preemptively before the weather worsens. Or perhaps they felt all bids were too high last year and never had the work done. In either case, they are still a viable prospect for you.

One of your most important sales manager responsibilities is to provide your sales team with a list of potential clients. One of their hardest tasks is then narrowing that list down to people who want to hear a proposal. With a “They Said No” audit, you’ve regenerated your list of possibilities. Plus, you already have their contact information.

As you contact potential clients, you’ll often find one of two scenarios: your prospect has moved to a new company or the business is in a different place. Both of these scenarios mean more opportunities, though. A new contact means new opportunity for business, and if they’re in a new location they need a different, maybe even bigger, proposal, to meet their needs.

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The Action Plan for Your Audit

1. Create a Master List

Before you contact everyone who turned you down, create a prospect inventory as a team. Have every salesperson write down who said no, what their objections were, and when they were last contacted. Make it available to your whole team. The best sales managers will then examine this data to troubleshoot some of the barriers to the sale.

2. Make the Calls

Once you have your list, the sales team should surprise those contacts with a call. Your talk track may sound something like this: “We have new plans available now that we didn’t have when we last talked. Have your made a decision on anything? Are you happy with what you chose? What would it take to get your business?” Don’t be afraid to be direct.

3. Tell A Story

As you talk on the phone, use storytelling to your advantage. Stories build your rapport and help you connect with your client. How has your product recently made a difference for a similar company? Share that story. A good conversation after months of no contact may be a game changer.

Related: Telling Stories During a Sales Pitch: Do’s & Don’ts

4. Start an Email Sequence

Have a follow-up email ready to go after you make the call. By waiting until after a conversation, you’ve made your offer harder to ignore. An email alone may be swept under the rug, but when coupled with a call, you become a stronger presence to your prospect.

Don’t be content with checking off your sales manager responsibilities for the year! Rather than coast until New Year’s, finish this year strong. Use a “They Said No” audit to lead your team in a sales month that’s worthwhile.

 

How to Get Consistent Results From Your Sales Team with a Mastermind Group

sales mastermind group

Mastermind: a board game, a Marvel villain, and a business group. The business option may sound like the least interesting definition of the three, but a Mastermind group can change your sales game drastically. By gathering people with similar goals but different experiences, salespeople learn from each other. 

Benefits of a Mastermind Group

Learn From the Best

At its core, Mastermind groups allow you to hear the best experiences that netted the best results from your peers. You’ll spend part of your time each week sharing wins, losses, and challenges. In doing so, you can take note of what worked for others and apply that information to your own strategy.

Maybe someone shares how they sold 100 widgets to ABC Supply this week. Someone else asks, “How did you get ABC Supply as a customer?” As the salesman tells the story of how he captured the sale, you learn his pitch and how he acquires customers. For a salesperson, that’s your main goal: learning how to get more clients.

Overcome Objections

You also hear how the best salespeople answer objections. Jack Daly, a well-known sales coach, claims that most organizations have 10 objections to a sale. The top one or two salespeople usually have their answers to those objections down to a science.

In a Mastermind group, you can take the time to discuss the 10 objections and then pay attention to the answers of the top salespeople. They’ve learned to navigate those obstacles and can pass their tactics along in this type of setting.

Receive Encouragement

You’ll also gain encouragement from your peers in a Mastermind group. A sales schedule is tough. Even when losses start to weigh heavy, you have to keep your game face on. This type of group gives you an outlet for frustrations and disappointments. Meanwhile, it can also help you find workable solutions to the issues that are holding you back.

Related: 4 Tasks Your Salespeople Hate (And How to Automate Them)

As you share with your group, they start to identify the places where you need to improve. As you get to know each other better, they can point those areas out. Recognizing that someone else knows your shortcomings makes you want to change them. It holds you accountable to a higher performance standard.

Running a Mastermind Group

1. Meet Regularly, Schedule Consistently

The first step to organizing a worthwhile group is to schedule it regularly. Meet every week for eight weeks, then switch to monthly or bi-monthly meetings. These first eight weeks are essentially a crash course in getting to know everyone. Only once you build those relationships can you begin to help each other grow.

As you schedule these meetings, make the time, day, and location consistent. You have enough transition as a salesperson; There’s no need to overcomplicate the group by unnecessarily changing the when and where.

2. Study a Book

Choose a book to study. Jack Daly’s Hyper Sales Growth is a great place to start. In eight weeks, you can talk through it chapter by chapter. Books act as conversation starters for sharing stories about the real work of sales. You’ve shared the experience of reading the book, now you can share the experiences of your sales week.

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3. Limit Time and Number of Members

You’ll want to keep each meeting around an hour long. If it gets much longer, scheduling becomes an obstacle. In order to keep the meeting brief, there should only be 5-8 people in a group. The smaller size also allows more depth in the relationships.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

4. Don’t Include Sales Managers

When management gets involved, salespeople feel less freedom to share. If they meet only with their peers, they have a safe platform for their gripes. The attendance of a manager stifles this.

We want salespeople to talk about these issues because group members can call out their peers. The longer they stay in the group, the more chance they have to learn and improve. If you’re a sales manager who wants to be involved, limit your involvement to scheduling the meetings. You can help make the groups happen, but you shouldn’t be in the group.

5. Have an Agenda

Each time you meet, make time for updates from each group member. Have each person share wins, losses, and challenges since the last time you met. What deals have they closed or successes have they had in their lives? What sales fell through? What updates do they have from previous challenges they’ve faced or deals they were working on?

These conversations open the door for learning and accountability. Members can see what worked for others and avoid the pitfalls. They can share what they’re going through and get honest feedback that will eventually help even if it hurts to hear.