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Maximising sales team performance

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By Its ALL about Sales, Feb 12 2020 03:28PM

When brilliantly executed for certain companies offering certain products and services “Social Selling” can be the Holy Grail. An outstanding end-to-end solution for all their sales needs. Sales that generally end with an on-line purchase or booking.

More often than not “Social Selling” is used for quality lead or enquiry generation or warming up prospects.

This is when and why it frequently goes wrong in one of three ways…

Opportunity Lost: People have lost the skill of “taking it off-line”… As “Social Selling” maybe sits more naturally with the marketing function many have never needed these skills.

Opportunity Wasted: When the “conversation” is finally taken off-line people don’t have the sales skills to drive the sales process and win the business.

Opportunity Squandered: When, because the buyer is along way down their buyers journey, the off-line “conversation” is handled by “order takers” many of which make very little attempt to influence an outcome an simply don’t recognise an opportunity.

Don’t spend so much time and money on your digital output that you forget about giving those responsible for the “Selling” part the skills they need.

We can help, give us a call.

By Its ALL about Sales, Feb 4 2020 08:00PM

Although I had always been the person people came to if they had a “sale” that they needed help with, almost 20 years ago I decided to take sales coaching and training far more seriously.

I became a real sponge for knowledge on how to sell, how to sell professionally and sales leadership.

Reading, studying, seminars etc.

I found myself saying to myself…

“That’s what I do”

“That’s exactly how I do it”

“I didn’t realise I do that, but I do”

I started thinking I must a bloody genius with amazing intuition.

Then it started dawning on me. The realisation that I had been incredibly lucky.

I had started my sales career many years before with two different companies (BMW and one of the finance houses) that had given me really good sales training - not just induction training - SALES training, and although the events were a dim and distant memory the really sound foundations that had been put in place had remained with me. I was gutted (not really) - I wasn’t a bleeding genius after all

Why do I say lucky?

I am always staggered by the number of salespeople that I work with have never had any sales training let alone had it refreshed or developed. OK maybe they shadow someone for a day or two (learning someone else’s bad habits) as part of their induction but that’s not sales training.

I’m lucky for another reason.

As a trainer I actually get to work with the companies that ARE prepared to invest in their sales teams, laying great foundations and developing sales and leadership skills. I always make a point of highlighting to delegates how fortunate they are to work for a business that values them.

By Its ALL about Sales, Feb 4 2020 11:31AM

I was asked this by a colleague when I was part of a large rapidly growing team many years ago. As we hot-desked I made a point of sitting near him the next day.

This guy was slick, very confident, ”sounded” super professional, seeing off objections as if they irritations. By lunchtime I had heard enough.

At lunch the colleague who had flagged him couldn’t resist coming up and asking “well, what did you think?”

She was taken aback when I said “he’s dreadful, really awful”

The guy had spent the whole morning on the back foot overcoming objections that he should never have been facing in the first place, asking the minimum of questions he could get away with before diving into telling the prospects what he wanted them to hear. He could undoubtedly talk well but was the absolute antithesis of a sales professional.

To be fair he was bright and it didn’t take too long to coach the bad traits out of him but without the help he would never have survived.

Even if someone sounds like they are great at sales… They may well be costing you business

By Its ALL about Sales, Jan 28 2020 03:00AM

One of the more famous quotes we hear in business and sales is accredited to George S Patton…

”A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

Back in the 18th Century Voltaire wrote “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” basically the same sentiment but wouldn’t carry the same clout in the field of war.

Salespeople… (especially when you are starting in a new position) you will almost certainly shadow a colleague for a while (sadly this may well be the only sales training you are given) so, when you do, don’t just listen to what they are saying to their prospects/clients and copy it, work out how to make it better, much better!

By Its ALL about Sales, Jan 27 2020 12:00PM

You’re a great salesperson, you know it and you enjoy it. Regularly exceeding targets and you have been for what seems like forever. Maybe it feels a little too easy or even boring.

Time for you to step up to management? Be careful what you wish for.

At the moment you are responsible for your own performance, not your colleagues, not the overall team, yours, furthermore, if you ever find yourself struggling you’ve got your manager to call on for help.

A good manager will shield you from all the crap that they may be getting from above. Their role is to clear the path to make sales as easy as possible for the sales team, keeping you motivated and focused enough to smash targets, often creating the atmosphere you enjoy.

If sales managers are very lucky they will have hierarchy that fully understand about the importance of a good sales culture and clears the way for them but far far too often this isn’t the case. Sales management can often feel as though you are continually locking horns with the leadership: Budgets, resources, commissions, staffing levels, targets, defending individual salespeople when it’s needed, taking it on the chin for the team if they under-perform while giving the team all the credit when they over-perform. The list goes on…

Oh, and then there is the 9-5 day job, the bits you see. Managing and motivating “the good the bad and the ugly” of the sales team to continuously perform, day in, day out, month in month out.

Do you really want the sleepless nights?

Don’t get me wrong, I love management especially SALES management and if you are good at it it is hugely rewarding (not always financially as often good salespeople earn considerably more than their managers) but, if you work for a great sales manager the role is nothing like as easy as he/she is making it appear.

We’ve helped a lot of salespeople make the transition into management but even with great training it’s worth understanding just how different the roles are.

Good luck if you decide to take the plunge.

By Its ALL about Sales, Dec 17 2019 12:00PM

It seems to be becoming a more common issue, one that we are getting more and more calls about.

Salespeople are great at managing their existing accounts. They are terrific at converting incoming leads but they are not going after new business so when these dry up they are left with nothing in the pipeline.

Often there is an attempt to shift the focus onto the marketing "team" asking for more leads, increased footfall, better "special offers" ...

All of a sudden (?) there is a need to talk with new people, build new relationships. This is when we usually hear the cries of "the data is rubbish", "no-one wants to talk to us".

Often the great existing clients have been clients for years and we are maxing out what we can do with them, so where is the future growth coming from?

Building a robust pipeline is the lifeblood of most sales operations. OK the way we develop this pipeline is changing significantly, but the need to do so isn't.

Sales IS evolving, there is no doubt, but the core principles haven't changed (much).

"Sales 2.0" isn't the paradigm shift that its cracked up to be (yet), more a development of the way we get people into the funnel and the tools we use. but it's a great excuse for avoiding the bits of "Sales 1.0" we don't like very much.

By Its ALL about Sales, Dec 5 2019 12:00PM

Firstly, for context, I love genuine thought leaders. Without them we would still be living in caves...

I have two real concerns about how easy it has become to access "thought leader" content these days and both of them revolve around different "agendas"

I will come back to my greatest concern later on...

My first concern is that people are setting themselves up as thought leaders, in fact they are told to do so by other thought leaders (What's that all about?)

More often than not what they are saying isn't anything new, let alone original, and isn't overly thought provoking BUT what they have managed to do is re-package it in a "branded" way.

It may well be useful information but it is simply curating (that's a great word isn't it), re-branding and mass marketing it. When (IF) there is any original angle to the content it is often just regurgitated post after post after post, because there isn't real depth to it.

The whole idea of being a true thought leader is about sharing, giving and unconditionally helping others which then attracts followers and business follows. When the agenda is to attract business by using questionably original reconstituted content to set yourself up as a thought leader it starts to feel very sleazy.

Maybe we need to be more discerning?

My bigger concern revolves around potentially genuine thought leaders, and especially the new, sometimes radical ideas that get some traction. These genuine thought leaders often use phrases like... "I can visualise a time when..." and they may well be right. Eventually some of their ideas may well become the mainstream, but even in todays rapidly changing world it is unlikely to happen tomorrow and it is unlikely that everything that it replaces becomes immediately redundant.

In the same way that electric vehicles will probably, eventually become the norm it will be an evolution that takes decades, not years and the combustion engine will be about for a generation or two, then the processes and technologies that are breaking ground at the moment will take a long time before they are the everyday norm. They may also only be available to large corporations with only radically diluted elements realistic for small businesses.

The problem is, and I see this far too regularly in the world of sales, these new ideas and developments can fuel procrastination. They can create a feeling of analysis paralysis resulting in people not knowing what they need to do. Often no-one is putting things into context.

This can however often suit people's agendas as it can seemingly validate their choices not to do some of the things that they feel less comfortable doing.

Maybe, again, we need to be more discerning?

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