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Sales Reinvented

We at Sales Reinvented are on a mission to change the negative perception of sales people. Each week we will be interviewing experts in the field of sales and sharing their knowledge, ideas and expertise with our listeners. They share with us in our vision of a world where selling is a profession to be proud of. The aim of our formatted show is to provide ‘snackable’ episodes that are short enough to listen to in one sitting but long enough to provide real value that will help you in your sales career. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.
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Now displaying: May, 2020

At Sales Reinvented, we are on a mission to change the negative perception of selling. Welcome to the Sales Reinvented Podcast.

May 27, 2020

Do you possess an adequate level of self-awareness? Can you accurately pinpoint where you are weak or could use improvement? Today’s guest on the podcast, Bob Apollo, believes that you must be self-aware to grow and improve—and become more productive. Listen to this episode for an in-depth analysis of productivity and what can help set you apart in the sales world. 

Bob founded Inflexion-Point—a UK-based B2B sales effectiveness consultant group—15 years ago and has a strong global footprint. He is an advocate for creating customer-value throughout every transaction. As an expert in the industry, we are fortunate to have him share that expertise in this episode of Sales Reinvented. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:52] Bob’s definition of productivity
  • [1:44] Why aren’t salespeople productive? 
  • [2:45] Develop a level of self-awareness
  • [4:10] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [5:22] Lobby for a more effective CRM
  • [8:05] Top 3 Productivity dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [17:20] A productivity challenge Bob has faced

Developing self-awareness as a foundation for productivity

There are a couple of personality attributes and characteristics that are important to productivity, but Bob points out that cultivating self-awareness is up there at the top. You need to be aware of what you’re doing and the impact and effectiveness of your actions. Without self-awareness, you won’t know what to change and improve.

It is the building block to effectiveness. Once you’re self-aware you can pinpoint your struggles and your weak points and develop a strategy to improve them. You can learn what works and what doesn’t. Self-aware salespeople are more likely to learn from others and grasp new concepts.

The right CRM can make a world of difference

Bob points out what many salespeople feel: the user experience and ROI of a CRM can be pretty disappointing. The vast majority of conventional CRM solutions are built around an administrative metaphor and record activities after the event. They offer no real sense of guiding the salesperson. 

There are many plugins available that try and rectify some of the issues but very few CRM’s that have adjusted. Bob recommends that if you feel your CRM isn’t delivering value, lobby for something better. There are options out there that may be better for you and your sales team—don’t be afraid to push your company for something better

The ability to learn is a key indicator of success

Bob believes that one of the best things you can do to improve yourself is to model your behavior after the most successful salesperson in your company. You must be willing to share your successes and failures with the team. The more successful your team is, the more profitable your business can be. Embrace the idea of collective learning.

But you must also embrace taking responsibility for your personal development. Don’t wait for your company to train you or blame them for your lack of knowledge. You alone are the master of your own destiny, so you must plan accordingly. One way you can do that is by setting up a professional development plan so you remain relevant and successful. 

Some tips and strategies to increase productivity

Bob gave us some tips that are too valuable not to share: 

  • Plan ahead: Don’t start any conversation or meeting without knowing what you want out of it.
  • Be open to fresh ideas: What brought you success in the past won’t necessarily repeat.
  • Focus your energy on value-creating activities: the more value you bring to the client the more likely they’ll be to move forward with your solution. It is a give-get process. 
  • Be strategic with unexpected RFPs: Learn to discern if you’re “column fodder”—as Bob put it—and if you have a chance to actually compete for the bid. Don’t waste your time if you’re the rabbit. 
  • Don’t prescribe before you’ve diagnosed: Really take the time to listen to your client’s needs and pain points—and do not fall into autopilot and start pitching before the time is right. 

Listen to the whole episode as we talk about eliminating sources of error, the greatest productivity challenge Bob has faced, and take a deep-dive into productivity. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Bob Apollo

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
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May 20, 2020

Time management is something most people struggle with and salespeople are no exception. It can have a huge impact on productivity—so how do you manage your time effectively? How do you become more efficient and productive in the time that you do have? Mark Sellers joins Paul in this episode to share his take—don’t miss it!

Mark Sellers is the Managing Partner and Founder of Breakthrough Sales Performance—which has been operating for 24 years. He is the author of two books, ‘The Funnel Principle’ and ‘Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching’. He is an executive coach who consults with small to medium-sized businesses to help them improve their sales. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented for his insights on productivity. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:59] Mark’s definition of productivity
  • [1:57] Salespeople need to focus on efficiency
  • [3:09] Focus on what is measurable
  • [6:41] Tactics to improve productivity
  • [9:36] What attributes or characteristics should a salesperson have?
  • [11:03] Mark’s weekly strategy: write things down
  • [12:15] The premise of Mark’s book: Blindspots
  • [13:26] Top 3 productivity dos and top 3 don’ts
  • [15:30] How Mark wrote 2 books and built a deck

Productivity is about time management and prioritization

According to Mark, productivity is measured by the function of energy multiplied by the task at hand. In other words, how long does it take you to complete a task? You’re more productive if you get things done in a shorter length of time. But time seems to be what all salespeople are short on—so the goal is to become more efficient with the time you do have.

Mark points out that one way to achieve efficiency is by only investing your time in qualified leads. You can’t continue chasing deals that are dead. You must also prioritize the things that move the needle on sales and achieving quota and everything else is secondary.

Sales managers need to focus on tracking what is measurable—which is why there is such an emphasis on goals, quota, etc. Mark is happy as long as he can see progress is being made towards a goal. But as a manager, you must know how many ‘calories’ your salespeople are burning to reach a goal. If they’re being inefficient, you can help coach them to be more productive and focus on priorities. 

Mark’s tactics to improve productivity

Salespeople need to stop running and reacting—if they can’t sustain their activity level it will catch up to them. To change, they need to plan better. Mark shared some cool strategies:

  1. The 6x6 priority management strategy: Write on index cards the 6 things that are important to you for the next 6 weeks (personally or professionally). You monitor those things for 6 weeks and evaluate your progress at the end. It helps you find focus and clarity.
  2. Practice necessary endings: Get rid of the things in your life that are no longer serving you and are distracting you. 
  3. Write things down: Mark sets aside time each week to write down 3 things: one thing to focus on for clients, one for business, and one for his personal life. He resets them weekly. If he’s nowhere near meeting his goals, he’s likely trying to do too much and adjusts accordingly. 
  4. Get coaching: No matter what level you’re at—be it CEO, sales manager, or sales rep—you can improve your skillset with coaching. Coaches can give us a different viewpoint when we are too close to the action and dealing with blindspots. 

Be sure to listen to hear our in-depth discussion of these topics. 

The attributes a salesperson should have

Mark believes the key to being a great salesperson, in general, is having a good vision. What you’re doing in pursuit of the vision will always move you in the right direction. You simply build your priorities around that vision and pursue them relentlessly. 

A salesperson must also know where they’re going to spend their energy, both personally and professionally. They have to have the ability to discern what to say no to and what opportunities to embrace. You can’t be successful if you say ‘yes’ to everything and end up burned out.

Mark’s tips and tricks to master time-management

Mark has learned a few tricks along the way that he shares in this episode that can help you maximize your time: 

  • Do a monthly funnel audit: It helps you reset your priorities and is a great way to hold salespeople accountable. 
  • Use your calendar for a 30-day plan: Go straight to your calendar and time-block and schedule appointments like you would for a customer or a Dr. appointment. 
  • Write things down: It’s hard to ignore something clearly written in your calendar.
  • Stay organized: Disorganization is the ultimate productivity-killer.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute: You will never produce quality work when you rush.
  • Learn to say no: Avoid taking on more than you can handle. 

Listen to the whole episode for an in-depth discussion on productivity, to hear about how Mark wrote his books, and the best way to knock out tasks. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Mark Sellers

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

May 13, 2020

According to Steve Hall, a customer-centric culture boosts productivity because you are able to focus on the right things. It isn’t about you, your sales goals, or your product—but about connecting with and understanding your customers and offering them something of value. 

Steve is a “C” level sales expert, a member of the Sales Experts Channel, and the Managing Director at Executive Sales Coaching in Sydney, Australia. He likes to categorize himself as a corporate storyteller who can help companies craft a compelling narrative. Don’t miss this engaging episode of Sales Reinvented!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] What is productivity? 
  • [1:50] A lack of productivity is an organizational issue
  • [3:25] How to improve productivity 
  • [5:07] Attributes of a productive salesperson
  • [6:53] Tools or processes to aid productivity
  • [7:57] Top 4 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [10:35] Steve’s favorite productivity story

A lack of productivity is an organizational issue

Sales professionals are judged by their results. They need the ability to achieve more with the same or less effort while reaching their short and long-term goals. Steve believes salespeople aren’t productive because things are structured incorrectly on an organizational level. 

Sales teams are expected to do many tasks that could be delegated elsewhere. They’re prospecting, wooing the clients, and expected to close the deal—with all the administrative tasks tossed in. This is something that organizations can focus on changing.

A customer-centric culture boosts productivity

Steve points out that most companies overemphasize doing more activity while still expecting quality work. Those two things don’t typically go hand-in-hand. Instead, Steve believes productivity is better served by better understanding your customers. Sales professionals need to be passionate about helping their customers succeed.

If you learn to see things from the customer’s perspective and understand the needs of their business you’re more apt to close the deal. Steve stated, “Rather than have product knowledge, have problem knowledge”. Educate yourself on your client’s business—commit to offering them value. Be nice, be genuine, and help your client succeed. That is the whole goal of productivity. 

Steve’s tools and tactics that make an impact

Steve said to invest in things such as sales navigator and a simple CRM, but that his methods to increase productivity are more strategic. Here are a few thoughts he suggests: 

  1. Record your sales calls. Play them back, pinpoint what you can improve on, and use the recording to help make a transcript for calls. 
  2. Don’t invest time in busy-work. Don’t spend hours perfecting a presentation that may never happen. 
  3. Sell to people who want what you have. There’s no point wasting time if they’re not interested. 
  4. Don’t work too hard. Be sensible—don’t work until you reach a point of burnout.
  5. Know your objective. Why are you making the phone call? Why are you sending the email?

You need to focus on what’s important and not activity for activities sake. Listen to the whole episode for more suggestions. 

Try team-based marketing and sales

Steve is an advocate for people to work as a team. Most companies have salespeople who work as individuals, with individual targets and goals. They’re less motivated to help their team because it’s every man for himself. But you don’t work in a vacuum. According to Steve, when people don’t work together it’s a “hammer to productivity”. 

He had a client who decided to build their company with a team-based marketing department. They set team quotas and goals. Anytime there was a challenge to overcome, everyone jumped in to lend a hand. This particular company increased its sales by 35% that year. The next year they increased sales by 50%. They now own 75% of the market share in their area

The moral of the story is that companies need to create an environment that encourages team collaboration and productivity and a customer central culture. They need people who are focused on doing the very best they can for their customers. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Steve Hall

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

May 6, 2020

Salespeople are taught that it’s all about closing the deal. That it’s all about connecting with prospects and pushing them down the sales funnel. Today’s guest, Ian Moyse, points out that spending time on closing the deal may not always be in your best interest. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to find out why

Ian Moyse is the EMEA Sales Director at Natterbox and an expert in telephony. He is known as a cloud social influencer. Thinkers360 recognized him as one of the top 100 #B2B Thought Leader and Influencers to Follow in 2020. He’s also a panelist on the sales expert channel, was awarded the prestigious UK Sales Director of the year award, and is one of the top sales experts. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] Ian’s definition of productivity
  • [3:00] Why aren’t sales people productive? 
  • [7:12] There is more than one way to communicate 
  • [11:18] Multi-level questioning and active listening
  • [15:41] Tools and tactics to improve productivity
  • [19:57] Top 3 productivity dos and don’ts
  • [23:08] Ian’s favorite productivity story

Productivity is about efficiency—not activity

Ian states that “Productivity is about doing the right thing, not just doing something”. It’s about hitting the results, not the metrics. Ian’s definition of productivity is doing the right things in the most efficient manner to secure a sale. There is too much focus on pure activity. Sales leaders want to push their reps to make more calls and force more connections. But more activity doesn’t equal qualified leads.

They’re also focusing on the wrong activities. Sales leaders want their rep to make a hundred calls to get 50 connections to get 5 leads—but what if a rep could make 50 calls to get 10 connections and 5 leads? The focus needs to be moved from ‘more’ activity to connecting with the right people. 

The level of activity needs to be different for every rep. Some reps need 20 visits to get 5 sales—others only need 10 visits a month. Each salesperson is an individual and needs to be treated as such. Everyone’s personalities and strategies are different, so we can’t hold them all to the same strategies and expect the same results.

Be willing to switch your preferred mode of communication

Ian points out that we need to take a step back and think about the fact that we all block calls and filter emails. Most people won’t answer a phone call with a number they don’t recognize or respond to an email from someone they don’t know. And while email seems to be the preferred mode of communication, it can leave a lot open to interpretation. You cannot properly understand someone’s tone and verbal cues through a written message—but you can with a phone call. 

It can also take 5 days of email communication to knock out what could be covered in an hour-long call. Ian states that you must be willing to switch modes of communication based on the information you need or the topic being covered. Email is more of a communication dialogue while a phone call is more conversational. You must keep in mind the differences between them. 

When productivity = NOT closing the deal

Productivity is about getting to the end result in the most effective and appropriate manner for your company and the client. The end result is not always a sale. Finding out that a potential customer is not a good fit still being productive because you’re reducing time spent on something that won’t achieve the desired outcome—a sale. 

Ian points out that sales reps need to learn multi-level questioning while actively listening. Taking a deep-dive with a potential client on the front end and listening to their needs will move you towards the desired outcome, or help you disqualify them. Ian believes many salespeople are so bent on closing the deal that they ignore key disqualifiers.

A great salesperson has to learn how to see those red flags and make hard decisions early. The amount of time you could spend on large bids will eat away at your productivity. Bring in your sales group and management to give a listening ear and let the bid go if it isn’t a good fit. You don’t want to waste your resources.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

According to Ian, this mantra can save you a lot of headaches and give you better odds of closing a sale. He points out one way to put this into play: make a cold call a warm call. He suggests doing that by researching the person in advance. Learn facts about his or her business and different angles you can use to connect with them. You may not use all the information, but you are better informed and prepared.

He has another mantra closely tied to the first: Plan, Prioritize, and Push aside. You need to plan for your day ahead of time, schedule and time-block key things that need to get done. Then you must prioritize those things and push aside interruptions and distractions. If you qualify what needs to be done now, it’s easier to focus on the tasks at hand.

Listen to the whole episode for Ian’s thoughts on productivity, his ‘Ninja inbox’ strategy, and more.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Ian Moyse

Connect With Paul Watts 

Subscribe to SALES REINVENTED

Audio Production and Show notes by
PODCAST FAST TRACK
https://www.podcastfasttrack.com

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