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The Best Office View Ever!

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Vail off of lift 26, Pride Lift, facing the Gore Range

I’m teaching skiing this week, thus the lack of posts. But, until my next post, I thought I’d share my office view with you. Not bad uh?

I’m all about sharing. ;)

I took this with my iPhone 5.  It’s crazy how good phones are these days.

If you’re in the neighborhood this week hit me up, maybe we can make a few turns.

Happy Skiing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These 30 People Have Something to Say About Social Selling

I’ve been a huge advocate of social selling for a couple of years now. That passion was elevated after publishing the survey, Social Media and Quota attainment with Barbara Giamanco last March.

It looks like I’m not alone and to be honest, I’m feeling large right about now. KiteDesk, in conjunction with Evolve did some research and found the 30 most social social salespeople in the world. This is a slammin’ list of some bangin’ social geniuses and they are winning because of it.

If you aren’t using social yet, start following any and all of these people. They’ll set you straight.


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Stop fighting it and make the move. It’s time to start learning how to social sell. Don’t be the guy in 1920 who said, he wasn’t going to use a phone and that the only way to sell was to go door to door because people wanted a face to do business. That guy was an idiot. Don’t  be that guy.

Get on with social selling already.

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Do vs Participate

I’m a hug fan of doers in the general sense, I just don’t want too many of them working for me.

The “doer” that I’m referencing in this case is the employee or sales person who “does” their job. They do what’s expected of them. They do what needs to get done. They do their job and in many cases do it well. Doers are great, because they get things done.

Here’s the rub. Doer’s don’t participate in the job. Doers react to what’s required to get the job done and that’s it. Doer’s don’t embed themselves in the outcomes and results. Doers normally don’t tie their identity to their job. They just get what’s asked of them done and that’s where the problem comes in. Doers don’t connect the dots. They don’t see if their effort is helping or not helping the bigger cause. Doers don’t recognize if what they’re doing is worth it or not. Doers will get exactly what you want done, even if it doesn’t advance the cause and that’s a problem.

Participating in the job means knowing why the job needs to get done and why the outcomes are important or not. Participating in the job means sacrificing the short-term for long-term gain. Participating in a job means not just doing it, but submerging yourself in it.

Participators get involved in the intricacies of the task and the job. They submerge themselves in the entire effort, not just the tasks. Participators look ahead and ask, does this task get us closer to the goal? Is there a better way to achieve what we want to accomplish. Participators are creative, innovative and engaged. Participators are forward thinking. They don’t just react, they plan. Participators have vision. They are constantly looking for improvements, advantages and opportunities. Participators connect the dots. Participators engage more and attach their person to the job.

You can do your job or you can participate in your job, it’s up to you.

I personally prefer participators, to doers.  You?

Why Winners are Nervous and Losers Aren’t

If you’re not nervous — I am!

Why?

Because, I know you’re going to lose.

Nervousness comes from not having control. It comes from being outside of your comfort zone. It’s a precursor to learning and growth. Nervousness is a telling trait. In order to be successful we need to be pushing the limits. We need to be working outside of our comfort zone and that means you should never truly feel safe and being nervous tells us if we’re outside our comfort zone.

If you’re not nervous, one of three things is going on;

You Don’t Give a Shit;

If this is the case, then it’s time to go. It’s time to give up what ever it is you’re doing and move on. If your not nervous because you’ve checked out, then check out the entire way and move on.

You Haven’t Set The Bar High Enough

I’m not nervous when I ski a groomed black run. But, I can tell you the butter flies are jumpin’ when I’m staring down a 40 degree pitch with tight trees on each side and a 15 foot vertical drop to get in. That makes me nervous. We don’t get nervous in our comfort zone. Therefore, if the bar is set too low, it’s easy not to be nervous. Setting the bar low is the cheap mans game. Don’t set the bar too low.

You Have NO Clue What You’ve Gotten Yourself Into 

This is my favorite scenario. It’s my favorite because it so humorous and so easy to observe. Watching people launch themselves into an effort with no understanding of what they are getting into can be very humorous. When we don’t know what we’re up against, when we don’t know or understand what’s expected of us or what an effort truly requires our ignorance shields us from the required nervousness. If you’re not nervous because you don’t know what you’re doing or what you’ve signed up for, you AREN’T going to be successful – period. You gotta know what you’re doing and what the stakes are to be successful.

If you aren’t nervous, then I’m nervous because you are going to fail. Being nervous means you’re pushing the envelope. It means you’re taking on big challenges. It means your learning. It means you’re committed, engaged and taking on big things and that’s the way it should be.

If you’re not nervous, then I’m nervous because I know you ain’t gonna win, succeed or finish and that’s why I’ve hired you.

If you’re not nervous, then you’re doing it wrong.

Can Sales People Still be Counted on to Win Deals Alone?

Ten years ago, I built a sales organization that leveraged, what I was calling at the time, pursuit selling teams to drive revenue. The idea was, our product, the clients needs and the environment were sufficiently complicated enough that it required different folks from different parts of our organization to maximize our chances of closing the deal. We knew it would be much harder to win sending the sales person out there by themselves. Our pursuit teams consisted of folks from; product, sales engineering, legal, customer service, operations and delivery.  These teams were collectively under the leadership of the sales person. The sales person was the “QB” and was responsible for the deployment of the people resources and the management of the  sale, the sales cycle and the deal strategy. It was their sale BUT, they had to use, and use appropriately the other members of the pursuit team.

Using this model, we successfully cornered the Voip 911 market, securing 95% market share BEFORE the FCC mandated 911 compliance on all Voip phones. It was a kick ass time to be on that team.

I’ve been a big fan of pursuit team selling since then, but haven’t seen it much lately.  So, it was nice to see this infographic from Barbara Weaver Smith at The Whale Hunters.

This is great.

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It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the more complex a deal is the more resources required to close it. Sales people are not capable nor should they be expected to close large, complex deals on their own. Those days are over.

Sales people need resources to make the sale and that includes people resources. Pursuit team selling is a real solution to landing the big deal. Don’t be shy, start building your pursuit teams  now. The more the merrier I say!

Does a Sales Organization Have to be Fun to be Good?

Fun . . .

If you polled your sales entire sales team or sales organization, would they say they are having fun? The answer better be yes.

As a xVP/CSO of sales, one of your key initiatives each year should be focused on having fun. If you don’t have an initiative that’s focused on making fun, you’re failing your sales team.

If your sales organization is crushing it, but no one is enjoying themselves, if no one is laughing, if few people are having fun, you haven’t built a world class organization. You’ve built a sales factory and nothing more and that’s nothing to be proud of.

I get it, we’ve got calls to make, clients to serve, accounts to manage, quota to get. But, that doesn’t mean it has to suck or be boring. To the converse, more and more experts and study’s suggest that having fun improves creativity, retention, and productivity.

I think studies around the idea of having fun at work to be interesting. It seems pretty simple to me. If you have the expectation that achieving results is non-negotiable AND having fun is also part of the organization, then that organization that will be wildly successful.

I loved this stat from research firm Ipsos of 1000 people;  those who rated their managers sense of humor as “above average” said there was a 90% chance they would stay at their job more than a year. This makes sense to me. Have you ever worked for someone with little to no sense of humor. It’s brutal.

Here’s the deal. If you’re a leader, particularly a sales leader, it’s incumbent upon you to figure out how to create an environment that is fun, a lot of fun. One of your key strategies should be focused on creating an environment where people want to come to work, tell their friends about their work, are proud to be part of the team, get excited when the organization is doing well and makes them laugh.

If you can’t build a fun organization AND get results your leadership talent is in question.

To build an organization that is fun, start by asking yourself, what would make you enjoy coming into work. What besides the actual work, would make you smile, laugh, engage, collaborate, and feel good about the moment you are in and the environment your working in?

Some ideas;

  • Take the first day of the new quarter off and do a “field trip.”

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    I’m looking GOOOD!! :)

  • Create a “rep” of the week and mess with their profile pic using a iPhone app like Boothphoto
  • Implement gamification for everything from goal achievement, to who says the phrase “I hope to . . . .” the most.
  • Send out a joke, funny cartoon, etc., a week; better yet get everyone using Yammer, Chatter, etc and post it to that.
  • Set up “Fun Friday’s” and let everyone break for happy hour at 3:00, you get the first round
  • Be more creative than these and come up with your own ideas.

The point is to come up with as many ways possible to create a fun place to work and get people wanting to have fun.

Now, for you sales leaders thinking, “I don’t have time for this shit. We’ve got quota to make. It’s not a fraternity.” I’m not talking about NOT getting work done. This isn’t zero sum. This is about you being good enough to get them BOTH done. It’s the idea that says; the more fun people have, the more productive and creative they will be. If you can’t build a fun organization AND get results your leadership talent is in question.

Why would you want to preside over an organization that people loathe to be a part of, where no one is having fun? An organization where the ONLY reason people show up is to make coin is nothing to be a proud of.

Build a sales organization your team is proud to be a part of and you are proud to lead that not only makes quota but makes the ride just as fun. That’s true leadership.

I’m curious to what life is like for this community. Is your sales organization a fun place to work?

 

 

Memorable Sales People

Think back to your last demo, customer conversation, or client interaction. Do they remember what was said? Did they remember you? How do you know? Why did they remember?

Customers, prospects and buyers don’t remember what you said, they remember you and how you said it. Only then does the information take hold.

We are inundated with information. There is no escaping it. Information sticks when it’s different and it’s the sales person who makes it different.

How are you different? How do you get your information to stick?

To get your prospects or buyers to remember you and what you said, you have to be different. By different I don’t mean gimmicky or by acting like a clown. Save the gimmicks.

We remember because the sales person knew something about us no one else knew.

We remember because the sales person explained why “it” mattered.

We remember because the sales person explained why “it” didn’t matter.

We remember because the sales person knew where the industry was going.

We remember because the sales person helped us see things we hadn’t seen before.

We remember because the sales person kept us from making a mistake.

We remember because the entire engagement was different from everyone other engagement we normally see.

We remember because the sales person isn’t pushy and yet still challenges us.

We remember because we feel better about our challenge AFTER they had left.

Are you a different sales person? Most of sales people aren’t any different and that’s a problem. Most sales people haven’t developed their own, conscious approach to selling that differentiates them from the crowd.

Ask yourself, why do prospects, and buyers remember you. Ask if why they remember is because of something you do deliberately. If they answer is yes, do more of what you’re doing. If the answer is no, and for most of us it is no, then it’s not too late. Start doing things that will make you memorable — just don’t be a clown.

Do you Really Need to Get EVERYTHING Done to Win in Sales?

You got a shit load of stuff to do, we get it. You’ve got to finalize the sales strategy, you have to roll out the new comp plan. Your expanding into Europe. The North America territory is being realigned. A new product roll out is designated for Q3. Your regional V.P. in the west is quitting. You’re Q1 numbers are down and you’re trying to secure a new channel partner. You’re busy and you’re asking yourself, how do I stay productive and not get crushed under that weight of everything.

Getting results is your job. You’re the Chief Sale Office/Executive Vice President of Sales; there is no room for failure in your world. But, man can it feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day, week or month to get done what needs to get done in order to deliver. To win in the this world you have to have a killer productivity and execution methodology that starts with knowing what is important and what isn’t.

I know, you’re gonna tell me that it’s all important.  Yeah, yeah, I know. Everything is important, but the truth is it’s all individually important, but when initiatives are compared to one another, some rise to the top. Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Companionship, friends, etc. are very important, but not if you haven’t eaten in a week.  The same “hierarchy” applies to productivity and getting things done.  Some things are just more important than others and knowing which ones to focus on is the key to productivity and execution.

Remember, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People?  Think big rocks, little rocks.

The best way to figure out what’s most important is to categorize your initiatives into one of 4 categories based on their complexity to complete and the impact to the organization;

  1. High Impact to the organization, low complexity to complete
  2. High Impact to the organization, high complexity to complete
  3. Low Impact to the organization, low complexity to complete
  4. Low Impact to the organization, high complexity to complete

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High Impact to the Organization, Low Complexity to Complete

These initiatives are the sweet spot, the bomb, the for real initiatives you should be working on first, before anything else. Why? Because their return on effort is so big. Your job is to deliver. Any initiatives that can deliver big results with little effort are key initiatives. Don’t delay, ignore everything else and jump on these initiatives first.

High Impact to the Organization, High Complexity to Complete

These initiatives are critical too. Their impact to the organization is big. The difference is they can take time. They can be difficult to execute, there is room for error etc. High complexity opportunities with big impact can have a high return, but they require lots of attention, time, effort and flexibility to deliver. Trying to do these first is a mistake. Get the easy ones out of the way, then attack this big hairy suckers. But whatever you do, do em!  Just ’cause they’re hard doesn’t mean you can put them off. They’re gonna have big impact, they need to get done.

Low Impact to Organization, Low Complexity to Complete

These initiatives or tasks are annoying, BUT they are easy to get out of the way. They can be things like generating reports, approving expense reports, taking a vendor sales call etc. These things don’t create huge impact to the organization, but only take a little bit of time and effort, so they worth getting out of the way.  Be sure to NOT let these get in the way of your more complex, bigger impact initiatives. It’s easy to do, thinking you can just knock them out, but you can’t. They will consume you if you let them. The problem is, despite being simple, they deliver very little return to the organization and making your number.

Low Impact to Organization, High Complexity to Complete

Stay away from these tasks and initiatives at all costs. They will eat you alive. High complexity initiatives and tasks take lots of time, resources and energy to complete. Spending time on them when they don’t provide a decent return is a death sentence to any and all the other initiatives that need to get done. These types of initiatives are often passed down from above or over from other departments. Don’t accept them. If it’s from above, do everything you can to demonstrate the LACK of impact the effort will have and how it will affect the rest of the organization.  Don’t wast a minute on high complex initiatives with low impact to the organization, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time.

Productivity is more than just todo lists and being organized. There is an strategic element too. The strategy is in your ability to know what initiatives to focus on first and which to do next. Working on the wrong things can slay any productivity and undermine potential opportunities.

I use this tool with our clients to help them identify the efforts they should be working on and which can wait. It’s a scoring system that measures both the complexity of the initiative and the impact it will have on the sales organization and prioritizes them. Feel free to download it here.

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Prioritization Worksheet

 

 

How are You Using Social Media to Sell?

It appears our social media report, Social Media and Quota Attainment, got peoples attention. A year since it’s publication, social selling seems to be blowing up. Everyone is incorporating social into their selling process and that’s a good thing, at least for those who want to make quota.

So now that you are a social selling pro, we want to find out “HOW” you are using social selling.

Not, “if” but “how” you are using social media to sell, particularly in prospecting.

From our findings we’re gonna create an ebook sharing best practices and share it with the world.

Because I know community is social selling savvy, I want to get your thoughts by asking you to take this quick survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WVBXHM9

And because we’re cool like, that we’re giving away a chance to win an iPad. What sales person doesn’t need an extra iPad?

So, tell us. How are you using social media to prospect?

Come on, don’t be shy.