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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!

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Excuses Sales Managers Buy

Businessman Making Excuses

Making Excuses

 

Although we’re a month into the New Year, a lot of sales managers are still reviewing results from last year and setting goals for the New Year. As they reflect on what worked and didn’t work so well last year, one area that will undoubtedly come under scrutiny is the sales team.

According to bizjournals.com writer Colleen Stanley, there are three excuses that the sales team gives for less than stellar performance.

Time – Sales team members often complain about a lack of time to search out new leads. They cite managing current clients and/or handling unexpected issues. If these are true conditions within a business, then the sales manager may need to revamp the sales model and team structure to identify if there is a need for specialized roles to handle leads, client relations, and account management.

If time management is the real reason why the sales team is unable to multi-task, then some coaching may be needed. A good time study and calendar review during the coaching session may identify missed opportunities or poor use of time.

Leads – Sales and marketing both have input when it comes to leads. Sales may say that they are not getting enough “good” or qualified leads; however, the marketing team will insist that they generated plenty of valuable leads and that the sales team just didn’t know how to close the deal.

Ms. Stanley suggests that instead of getting caught in the middle of this debate, involve the marketing team in sales and involve sales in marketing. Invite someone from marketing to shadow a sales call to get a better understanding. Encourage the sales team to provide suggestions and ideas to marketing.

Price – Sales team members may state that the cost of a product or service is not allowing them to find customers. The sales manager may adjust the pricing and yet the customers are still not buying. It becomes a question of maybe it’s the product or the sales person and not the price.

A solution for this is to identify common themes among those who do buy the product or service and find out why and then apply that reasoning to get new customers. Perhaps you offer a unique customer service experience that is priceless to the buyer. Market that. Sell that. The sales team will be able to use features over price to sell the product or service and then this excuse can be eliminated.

Sales Managers should strive to get out of the business of buying the excuses the sales team is selling them. There’s a saying that when someone wants to do something, they will find a way and when they don’t, they’ll find an excuse.

During sales coaching sessions, the Sales Managers will need to make sure that they listen to what their sales team is saying and then make sure that they make it clear that they want to be focused on end results and not the excuses.

Einstein Marketing Group can help you begin the conversation about managing your sales team for maximum results. Contact us today!

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Let Einstein Marketing Group Make Your Blog Stand Out

We recently invited you to consider adding an e-newsletter to your communication repertoire in order to maximize lead potential.

Now, we want to discuss another opportunity – blogging.

keyboard

Unless you’ve had social media blocked for the past five years or so, you’ve probably heard of blogging. It seems like everyone has one these days, and you should, too. It’s one of the easiest ways to draw in an audience, share your point of view, be “up to the minute” with product and service announcements and provide a lead-in to your e-newsletter or other publications.

A blog is more “user friendly” and uses language that may be less formal than other forms of communication and may appeal to clients who enjoy that kind of writing style. It also appeals to clients who may have a blog themselves and know how useful it is. Just like with your e-newsletter, you can use the blog to generate leads and potential clients.

Writing a blog post comes naturally to some and not so naturally to others. That’s where Einstein Marketing Group can help.

We can write the blog for you based on your marketing strategy and vision and then upload it to your site on your schedule. You can provide topics or enlist our help with generating topics for you.

Contact Einstein Marketing Group today to delve into the blogosphere.

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Wake up Your Sleeping Prospects

IMPORTANT: You should be taking these steps at the front end of your sales approach so that you don’t get to this point. However, sometimes the sleeping- prospect syndrome still happens.sleep-264475_640

1. Make a list of all the important questions (you didn’t ask). We get so excited when we see a new opportunity that we forget this is a business transaction. We need to have just as much information to make sure that this is as good a fit for us as it is for the prospect. Be sure to ask these questions at the beginning of every opportunity.

a. Budget: Ask, “What is your budget?” People are afraid to discuss money with their prospects, but this is a vital part of the process. Another way to ask is, “Do you have a budget to support this endeavor?”
b. Decision: Ask, “Besides you, who is part of the decision-making process?”
c. Timeline: Don’t ask, “When do you want to begin?” Instead, get buy-in from the prospect by asking, “In a perfect world, when would you like this product delivered?” By answering that question they are already visualizing the end-result you’ll deliver.
d. Criteria: Ask, “What criteria will you use to move forward in choosing me as your vendor?” “How are you going to make that decision?” “What are the components of the decision- making process for you?”

2. Personality. Can you identify with the prospect and the type of personality you are selling to? It is important to match your approach to your prospect’s personality type. (Research “DISC” to become skilled at recognizing personality types).

3. Don’t pressure the prospect. Everyone is feeling enough pressure right now; additional pressure from you will only make them run. Besides, you’ll start to sound anxious, and no one wants to do business with someone who is desperate.

4. How can you add value? If people do not feel as though they are receiving a good deal, you are not going to get their business. What are you offering that your competition isn’t? Can you give them something more?

Also, how is your product or service presented or packaged? Are you presenting it as a value-added benefit, or are you simply saying, “I am going to give this to you for free”? How you say it makes a difference. People don’t necessarily want to hear that they are getting something for free. Instead say, “You are valuable to me and because of that I am including [x] …”

5. Pick up the 30-lb telephone and call. Don’t hide behind email! Nothing beats having a real conversation with someone. Which leads right into Point #6 …

6. Clear up the silent confusion. When you do get the prospect on the phone, apologize for not being able to connect with him. This immediately relieves the stress and puts the ball in your court. Say, “Since I haven’t spoke to you in a while, I just want to let you know that my reason for calling is not to move the project forward. I am assuming you’ve already chosen another vendor, and I just want to make sure that I can keep you on my mailing list. Is that okay?”

7. Go for the assumptive “no” and allow the prospect to tell you otherwise. When you hear that he’s not made a decision yet ask, “What additional information do you need from me in order to feel more comfortable in making your decision?” This question will also help transition into the important questions from Point #1.

Let’s say that your prospect still isn’t budging. You’ve done everything but send a smoke-signal, and you still do not get a response. What do you do?

8. Get creative. No response via telephone? If it is appropriate for the prospect, send an attention-getting message. Send a shoe labeled “Trying to get my foot in the door” or a jam and muffin basket with a tag reading “I’m in a jam and really need to speak to you.” Your prospect will respond to you – guaranteed.

9. When all else fails, keep them on your mailing list. I have personally experienced a situation where it has taken me over a year to gain a client’s business. They just weren’t ready to make a decision. Keep them on your mailing list to continue the conversation.

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5 Reasons Sales Hates You, Marketing

You are a Marketing professional and you think you are very good at your job. The problem is, you don’t understand why Sales hates you. Chances are it’s because of one or ALL of the reasons below:

5. You are wasteful
Sales is probably resentful if you spend too much money on useless tchotchke’s their customers don’t want, or because you waste time at marketing schmooze-fests instead of lead-generating trade shows.

4. You think you ARE the brand
Marketing is indeed responsible for crafting the company’s image and message, but a company’s branding is more than just a clever logo and a tagline. While one of your essential roles is to help expand the brand’s awareness in the marketplace, you alone do not make up the brands identity. In fact it is customer relations, culture of employees, and ways in which the company demonstrates how they value both is ultimately what defines the brand. You’d be remiss to think otherwise.

3. You think you don’t need Sales
Please don’t think your promotions are enough to generate sales without the help of a talented Sales department. In business, it’s not always as simple as the buyer seeing a clever marketing piece and then choosing to make a purchase. There are many stages to the buying cycle and it’s the salesperson who walks with the buyer through each phase to ultimately convince them to make a purchase.

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2. Your definition of success if wrong
Marketers tend to get caught up in data, rather than results. Sales will resent the fact that you care more about earning a No. 1 keyword ranking rather than determining how much that metric actually contributes to the bottom line.

1. You think you can do their job
Having a Marketing degree does not make you an honorary expert in Sales. While Marketers might be well-versed at consumer research, data analysis, product development, and creating leads, they are not a Salesman. A highly trained Sales person is much better at one-to-one interaction, relationship building, persuasive communication, and fulfilling demands.

Are leads being clearly defined, and the customer’s feedback being heard? If you would like more information about improving the relationship between your Sales & Marketing team, don’t hesitate to contact us today.