Too often, we think we will start tomorrow. We constantly are building and reinforcing habits. You want to change your outcome for 2018, change your habits today. Don’t fall in love with the results. Fall in love with the journey and challenge yourself everyday. #bestyear #starttoday. #2018
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Every successful Start-up and business reaches the point where they need to make a decision to move from having one or two sales people to building a sales team. This might be because sales are taking off, you have a new product or because you took some funding and were told you had to scale your Demand Generation and Sales.
If only, it was as simple as hiring more sales people.
Here is some quick and simple advice to help you avoid some common mistakes in building a sales team based on the questions I get most often.
Understand your target customers. Who is buying your product today and is who is your target customer for the next 18 months? So much money is wasted because people either hire too senior or too junior of sales people to tackle the challenges of selling to the clients they can close.
Is your sale, transactional and focused on the SMB market or is your solution focused on Enterprise customers? These are completely different sales and need completely different people. The clearer you are, the less mistakes you will make. You will still make them but this will help.
Do you have a sales leader? You can have 3,4,5 sales people without a true sales leader but if you want to scale a team, you have to hire a professional sales manager. Alignment, again, is key but they also need to have a sales process they can use to develop the sales people into a team.
They will also help you sniff through a good story and get the right people who can actually do the job.
If you don’t have a sales leader, pay one you know at another company and have them come and help you hire sales people until you find one.
You will want a simple comp plan…. My Advice…. For One time purchases go with straight percentage and for SAAS, go with 1 to 2X monthly revenue. Your sales leader will build on accelerators. Remember, the plan should drive the outcome you want.
You are going to need an CRM. You can choose to start with Salesforce www.salesforce.com, Insightly, www.insightly.com or Zoho, www.zoho.com.
Most likely, you will end up on Salesforce eventually but by no means do you have to start there as it can be expensive and not necessary until you start integrating other areas of the business. You do need a sales funnel and visibility. Start running your sales team from dashboards as quickly as you can to build that culture from the beginning.
Don’t hire dramatically faster than you can scale Demand Gen.
You want to build in the culture of prospecting from the beginning but you do not want a team where at least 30% of the leads are not uncovered through Marketing. If you have more sales people than leads, you are hiring too fast and need to really focus on scaling Demand Gen to avoid wasting money.
If you have too much Demand Gen, your sales team will get fat and will never prospect. Sounds funny to have too much Demand Gen, but if your sales people can make their number based on incoming leads, you need to hire more sales people. Otherwise, this will have cultural ramifications for a long time. Trust me, if there is a limited number of leads, the sales team will work each one of them like gold
Here is a rule I use…
I want the Sales team to uncover at least 50% of their own opportunities. With all of the tools out there from LinkedIn Sales Navigator, to ClearBit Connect you do not have to rely on cold-calling but you do need to prospect.
Hope this helps. We will cover Direct or Channel Sales at a different Time.
Let me know the tools you find most valuable and how I can help. Let’s build great teams together.
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Every great leader I have ever worked with in business, politics or ministry have all had an incredible ability to focus when everyone else gets distracted.
It is this ability to rise above the noise that separates the wheat from the chaff that keeps the best moving forward when others get distracted or get knocked back by circumstances completely beyond their ability to affect.
So the key question is what can you actually control? How do you stay focused on what matters?
Whether it is my son’s 11 year-old’s flag football team, a global sales force, or an executive counterpart, every team and person I have had the privilege to lead has heard me mention and repeat the following (over and over.)
The Key to Success is controlling what you can and the only things you can control is your:
· Attitude – Your attitude will determine your experience.
· Effort – Your Effort reflects your willingness to fight.
· Preparation – Your preparation allows you to make the most of the opportunity when it comes.
Notice what is not on this list: You cannot control:
The Result – Sometimes you lose the game, don’t get the deal. Learn what you can and prepare better next time.
Other People (As Much as We would like to) – Some people will not like you, their choice. You control your attitude toward them.
Timing – Sometimes people get sick or in accidents. Will this distract you or will you put the effort in and get back to work.
Other People’s Mess – Do not let the Urgent minutia of Today rob your attention to the Vital actions that actually make an impact.
As a leader, people are looking to you. They key is you can help them more effectively fail-forward if you can look at a set-back and say, “Next Time, do we need to improve our attitude, Effort or Preparedness?”
A great cake is made with great ingredients. You don’t fix the cake, you fix the what goes into the cake. Same applies here.
Stuff Happen and most of it you can’t control… Get over it and don’t get so paralyzed by the outcome that you don’t learn from the process.
You will see a multiplication of results by putting your and your team’s focus and attention on what you can actually affect. Let’s go get better.
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“It is who you know.” We have heard that phrase so many times. Outside of my decision of faith, who I surrounded myself with is the most important decision I have ever made and impacts every area of my life. The same is true of you.
You don’t just make this decision once and put your life on cruise control, you need to continue to make it constantly and deliberately as you, your relationships and your goals change.
Surround yourself with people who bring the best out in you. Surround yourself with people who are doing what you dream about, will speak hard truth to you and will hold you accountable. You want no excuse relationships.
Be intentional about what you read, what you listen to and who you let speak into your life. Relationships matter so much more than we think.
Think about input as the water you drink. The water you draw out is determined by the source you draw from. Bad well… Bad Water.
Flat out, You will become who surrounds you. Be an active participant in shaping your life. No victims.
BTW, I don’t really know Santa. I mean who really KNOWS Santa. We just hung out a few times.
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I have a friend who is just graduating school and today starts his first day in sales at a software company in Seattle. He asked for some advice as he wanted to kill it out of the gate.
This is my favorite type of call. I would do anything for someone who wants to go work their butt off and but just needs to learn what to do. There are no handouts, but I can give you the map.
Here is what I sent him. I hope this helps you as well.
Here it is, day one. I am so proud of you. I am so humbled and honored to be part of this journey as it brings back some really cool memories.
I know you have big goals that are tied to this journey. Enjoy step one on this. There will be days that are frustrating and days that full of elation. Push through them both. Celebrate the wins, learn from the losses and then get back to work. You are part of a team and your job is to perform.
I have seen thousands of sales people start their first day. Many have gone on to build incredible careers and many others moved onto other endeavors.
Sales is a career. Let me say that again. Sales is a career, not just a job. Sales is one of the only careers and skills-sets that can move to any industry is recession proof and if you are good can provide incredible opportunities your whole life. The industry continues to evolve and you will need to as well to stay on top but good sales people will always in be demand.
- Hustle – The proof is in the proof. You are your results in Sales. You are not branding, your job is to close sales and you need to work. You will develop the skill. Until then, out hustle everyone.
- You and your company will always get better. Make No Excuses.. Get it Done
- Set daily goals and hit them – Discipline matters. If your goal is 100 calls, don’t’ quit til you hit 100. If it is to get 1 qualified deal per day, then hit it. Understand what success for the day looks like and knock it out.
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” -Sam Levenson
- No Pain, No Sale – You are in the pain removal business. If the person you are talking to does not admit pain, move on. No Pain, No Sale.
- Become a Better listener – Successful calls sound like you asking good questions and then listening a ton. The more you listen, the better the call. Focus on the goal of the call and then lead with questions, not statements. Be the listener your girl-friend wishes you were.
- Stay Humbly Confident – Your confidence and energy will be infectious, bring it on every call. Remember, your customers and prospects will respond to you so bring your winning attitude on every call. Stay humble and remember, every call is an opportunity to serve someone and learn something.
- Learn as much as you can – Ask questions. Practice your pitch, listen to your trainer. It is better to look silly and be transparent with your team so you can be more effective in front of your prospects. Remember, the name of this game is performance and you begin winning in practice. You do not have to know it now, but you do have to learn it. Today’s struggle builds the success of tomorrow.
- Become a Consumer of Information – Make it a goal to get better every day. Never lose this hunger and develop a discipline that will carry you through. You will need to learn about sales processes, sales pitches, your industry, and the people you are selling to. I read 40-50 books a year. Whether through blogs, audio books, podcasts, etc. it is your responsibility to get better. No Excuses!!!
- Understand your sales cycle – Every industry is a little different. Many people start out and never gain this fundamental skill of moving the deal forward through the stages. Trust the process and communicate the challenges.
- Ask for Help – Never lose a deal by yourself. If you run into a challenge ask your manager for help. Better to share the success and the lessons so you can fail forward together. Lean on those more experienced to accelerate your learning.
- Find Mentors – Find people who are where you want to be and ask them to be a sounding board. They can give you recommendations, etc. This is your responsibility. They may only be a couple of steps ahead of you. The best ones always do this. The others flounder alone.
- Make the Extra Call – Put that extra effort into this. Most sales people give up after 1-2 calls when the average person doesn’t respond until call 5-6. Most sales people are average. Don’t give up your dream and settle for average. Make the extra call
Now, go knock it out the park. I know you will.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received or given? Would love to hear it.
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