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Using DISC in the Sales Process

Personality assessments have become an increasingly important tool in businesses. In the past, such assessments were usually introduced in an academic setting or after someone has already begun their jobs as a training tool or an ice-breaker of sorts. More and more companies are using them as a screening device prior to hiring as well.

In sales, you will interact with a wide variety of personalities and unique individuals. Having a skill set to manage these personalities effectively becomes crucial because cookie cutter sales people are a thing of the past. If you want to succeed as a sales manager, you cannot expect your sales team to do and think as you do. You have to develop techniques that help you manage them based on their traits and habits.

DISC can help with that. One of the most used assessment tools, it is a fun and interesting way to learn more about your team and yourself. It also provides useful information as to how to interact, communicate and manage people based on their DISC styles.

What exactly is DISC? DISC Insights provides an overview. A DISC Profile uses a method for understanding behavior, temperament, and personality and provides a detailed overview of the way that people think, act, and interact. The assessment evaluates traits based on dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

DISC-Personality-Breakdown

Within each of us, these 4 items exist in some degree, some more than others.   Each characteristic lends to our ability to be active and outgoing, people oriented, task oriented, or passive and reserved. Most people are dominant in one style; however, it is not unusual to have people overlap in styles. This is usually attributed to growth and personal and professional development over time. For example, a person may take the assessment and be more task-oriented and a bit passive. Then, they become involved in a career like sales, education, management, etc. that requires them to become more outgoing and more people oriented. In business, we are often required to be chameleons.

By knowing a person’s style, a sales team leader or manager can identify best practices for coaching the sales team in the areas of communication, leadership, conflict resolution, goal setting, motivation, teamwork, critical thinking and decision making.

Even further, your sales team then can use what they learn from the assessment to help in the field. Now, they won’t be able to assess their customers to determine their styles. They will, however, be able to get a feel for how the person is presenting themselves and be able to adapt. We’ve all had the customer who was “all about business” who didn’t respond well to the overly friendly and talkative salesperson. The analytical customer wants facts and information to make their decision not a lot of talk and traditional sales technique. In fact, an analytical customer tends to lose trust and feel like they are being manipulated by the overly friendly and “Hey, this is the most wonderful thing for you” type sales person. By being aware of the characteristics of these styles, a sales person will be able to take a step back and say, “Oh, wait, they are not responding well to me. Let me regroup.” Being adaptable leads to more sales and more success in the field.

If you are unfamiliar with administering and interpreting personality assessments such as DISC, we can help. Our sales coaching program guarantees success for you and your sales team. We can help you develop an assessment strategy and then use what you learn to guide your sales team to success.

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Improving Ramp Up Time for Sales Reps

Business Presentation

The success of a business may rely on how quickly sales team members are fully trained and ready to do their job. Even the most experienced sales person will have some sort of learning curve or acclimation period when he/she joins a new company.

A lot of businesses hire new sales representatives with the thought in mind that it’s going to take at least 6 months to get them up to speed. What if your company doesn’t have that kind of time and needs a sales force that is ready to go much quicker?

Amanda Wilson of Qvidian offers suggestions as to how to ramp up the sales force a little quicker. In a 2014 article she stated that twenty-nine percent of companies expect to expand their sales organizations between 10%-30% in the coming year, with over 6% expecting to grow over 30%.

With anticipated growth in sales organizations, onboarding and ramping new sales staff as quickly as possible becomes paramount to sales leaders.

Leaving traditional training programs behind, creative and innovative sales leaders are looking to other approaches to get the sales force ready sooner.

Streamlining – Sales leaders are scrutinizing their systems, techniques and materials that have been used for training to see what they can pull together into one place or one strategy. Can the sales reps access all of their materials in one place? Do they have a designated “go-to” for finding the data they need? The quicker a sales rep can become familiar with where to find things and who to contact for information, the quicker they can be generating leads and sales.

Best Practices – Newer sales reps may bring fresh ideas and/or try to bring techniques that worked at other companies with them to their new job. While initiative is often appreciated by a sales leader, it’s also important for the new sales reps to understand what the company’s best practices are for getting sales and keeping customers happy. Sales leaders will need to run through all of the acceptable and non-acceptable practices of the business so that sales reps are armed with the best way to handle certain situations.

Information Push – Communication is key to any business’s success and even more so when it comes to sales. Sales Reps who have to dig for information or ask around about what is going on is going to set the business and the sales rep back. A good sales leader will give the sales rep the tools he/she needs to be successful and information is worth its weight in gold. Lee Salz advises that companies need to identify all of the things a sales person needs to know and write it down. All of it. Then, once you have the list of things, categorize it based on when the rep needs to know it and if they already know it.   By giving the sales rep the information they need in an organized and timely fashion, there is less confusion and less of a chance of a delay because they don’t know what they don’t know and seek answers from people who may or may not give the correct information.

Einstein Marketing Group can help you formulate a plan to get your sales reps informed, trained and ready to go quicker. Let our Sales Coaching program help you and your business.

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Inaccurate Pipeline Forecasting

Sales-Forecasting

Sales Forecasting

Most sales managers wish they had the ability to accurately predict what the future is going to look like for their companies. Members of the sales team wish that their sales managers can accurately provide advance warning of any potential issues that may impact their sales.

As with the weather, sales forecasting can be unpredictable at times; even inaccurate. This has a huge impact on the sales team. A sales manager who optimistically predicts that the future is bright may inadvertently set the sales team up for disaster if the prediction doesn’t come to fruition. On the same hand, if a sales manager pessimistically predicts a less than stellar sales future, the sales team may lose motivation and drive and essentially create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What is a sales manager to do then?

Dave Kurlan in his Understanding the Sales Force blog offers reasons why forecasting may be inaccurate for sales managers.

  • They lack a formal, staged, criteria-based pipeline.
  • They lack a functional, sales-specific CRM or Pipeline Management application.
  • Their sales process is not integrated into the CRM/Pipeline Management application.
  • Salespeople have the power to suggest the likelihood of closing.
  • Salespeople have the power to override the application’s weighting of an opportunity.
  • Salespeople fail to LIVE in the CRM application, providing infrequent updates, causing most report and dashboard data to be outdated.
  • There is a lack of accountability for keeping the application up-to-date – not weekly, not daily, but in real-time!
  • The data being entered is not being inspected by management.
  • Nobody cares about getting it right.
  • The concept of pipeline management has not been integrated into the culture.

If a weather forecast is inaccurate, we chalk it up to changing patterns or unexpected obstacles. However, we still move forward and do what we need to do. We just grab an umbrella “just in case” or keep a jacket in our car.

For the sales team, it isn’t that simple. Sales Managers need to tackle their obstacles head on and work to have a more accurate pipeline forecast. If the obstacle is the sales force, then sales coaching may be a good solution.

In order to get sales forecasting moving in the right direction, Kural cites the following issues that sales managers may want to address during their coaching sessions:

  • Laziness
  • Fear of Rejection
  • Need for Approval (Need to be Liked)
  • Fear of being wrong
  • Pressure to find new opportunities
  • Consequences of removing an opportunity and its related value from the forecast and/or pipeline

Unlike the weather, pipeline forecasting can be accurate and can improve the sales of a company, as well as the performance of the team as a whole. It requires commitment from all involved.

Einstein Marketing Group can help Sales Managers work towards more accurate pipeline forecasting. Contact us today! We guarantee that you will see results in the first 30 days!