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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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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!