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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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3 Ways Marketing Helps Sales Close the Deal

 

Your leads are as good as dead if Sales doesn’t have good marketing materials to aid them through the buying cycle. Having great content isn’t just needed during the first step for capturing leads, but it’s also key to earning the buyer’s trust and then ultimately their money.

Without the right materials, the sales funnel will look more like a dunce cap

 

A recent study published bySiriusDecisions
found that 70% of the buyer’s decision is already made before they engage with a salesperson.
That means your sales team needs quality content they can use at
every stage of the sales funnel, not just the beginning.

 

Not sure what marketing materials are best to provide at various stages of the buying cycle? Here’s our list of recommendations:

 

 

1.   Buying Cycle Stage: Awareness

Marketing Materials needed: Professionally written and designed brochures, presentations and proposals.

 

The Awareness stage is when Sales lets the buyer know know they have a solution to their problem. In order to eventually nurture the lead, Sales must have good leave-behinds that establish credibility with the buyer, and reinforce what makes your product/services exceptional.

 

2.      Buying Cycle Stage: Consideration

Marketing Materials Needed: Case Studies, Whitepapers

 

Buyers in the Consideration Stage are already aware of what they need to solve their problem, they just need evidence YOUR business has the answer. Since most buyers at this stage are conducting online searches, you should provide easy access Case Studies and downloadable white papers on your website that reinforce the message of how your products will help them.

 

3.      Buying Cycle Stage: Purchase

Marketing Materials Needed: Referrals, Testimonials

 

The customer needs to have a trusted relationship established with Sales in order to complete this step. That is where referrals and testimonials help. The evidence of previous successes and satisfied customers will trigger buyers into ultimately making a purchase.  It’s the proof buyers need to decide your product WILL solve their problem.

 

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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.

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Things Your Sales Team Wants to Say to You

Are you making things harder for Sales? Find out if you are creating more problems or work for them without even realizing.

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You don’t understand “leads”
If your lead captures are not producing candidates who are even remotely close to buying, then you are doing your sales team a great disservice by wasting their time. Work together to establish a criteria of what constitutes a qualified lead, and then tailor the marketing efforts towards improving ways to capture them.

You don’t understand what I do
While Marketing pros are experts at crafting a company message, it’s Sales who communicates that message to buyers. However, this doesn’t mean Marketing should tell Sales how to do their job. It’s Marketing’s job to support sales by enhancing brand awareness within the marketplace, but it’s Sale’s job to pitch the product and convince buyers as to why they need it.

I wish you had told me about this
Nothing is worse than a Marketing initiative that hampers Sales. Even worse is one that Sales isn’t aware of. Make sure they know the goal for every email campaign, website update, social media effort etc.

If you would like to create a custom marketing plan that will give you a bigger ROI, then you must take a closer look at the needs of your sales team. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on the best ways to do this.

Smart businesses deserve a genius marketing team. We’d like an opportunity to become yours.

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Is Your Marketing Team Keeping Secrets From Sales

In order for Sales & Marketing to form a profitable alliance, the need to communicate comes to certain critical areas of the business.

Critical Information About Leads
Marketing cannot just hand Sales a sheet of leads without offering as much detailed info about them. While some information might seem irrelevant to you when looking at the “big picture,” it could be critical for sales to know in order to make the sale. For example being able to offer details such:

• Is the lead a B2B or B2C?
• Are they located close by or out-of-state?
• Do we know their existing service provider?

In addition to lead demographics, sales could also benefit greatly from other important analytics that you are capturing through marketing efforts. For example, are visits to the website primarily done on mobile devices? Are there certain service pages that get more views than others by region?

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What People Are Saying
If Marketing is responsible for having a dialogue with consumers on social media, then they need to let sales know what those conversations are about. Social media marketing is our best tool for having a two-way conversation with present and future customers. However, being on social media only works to drive business if the brand is good at both talking and listening. That’s why it’s critical for Marketers to share the comments, likes, and complains that come from conversing directly with the consumer about your brand.

Is your Sales and Marketing team discussing the most important topics of business? 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!
Einstein Marketing Group believes that the foundation of all successful businesses is a solution to a problem. If marketed correctly, this solution can take you places you never imagined were possible.

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Giving Sales Some Much-Needed Love

Our goal this month is to provide information and resources on how to get Sales and Marketing to work hand-in-hand. Let’s face it, you need both of them to thrive — but they don’t always play well in the sandbox. We want to give you ideas on bringing the two together for the betterment of your business.

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Here are some ways that Marketing can show Sales they understand what it takes to close a deal in 2014:

Include Sales in the Development Process

That is, at least some part of it – whether be a quarterly “Blue Sky” brainstorming meeting, or an end-of-fiscal-year mixer to review what worked and what didn’t. Sales doesn’t need to actually create your actual marketing plans and materials, but they want to know that their input will be heard and be given validity.

Provide Mobile-Friendly Content

You’ve heard it time and again that Sales needs better marketing materials in order be successful, but that rule doesn’t just apply to posters, brochures, and pens. Think outside the “traditional marketing” box, and let this be a rule-of-thumb for your online efforts as well. In order to help drive conversions in 2014, Sales must have mobile-friendly content. They need every single piece of online material to have readability on tablets and phones, they need user-friendly apps (if applicable), and they need social media pages to be current.

Make sure the Bag of Tricks is fully loaded

With so many added choices in today’s marketplace, Sales needs extra resources to help close a deal. If you give them an arsenal of updated materials– such as videos, promotional offers, case studies, customer testimonials, buyer demographics etc. it will help them to reinforce the value of your products over the buying cycle.