What you need in the field for a successful Sales Blitz!
In a Sales Blitz every door is an opportunity and if your salespeople aren’t properly equipped they can miss it.
How to Organize for Success in a Sales Blitz!
Blitzes can be a source of HUGE immediate sales and long term changing of your business normal but only if they are planned and handled right.
If your reps are spending their time driving around lost the company loses. Set them up for success and have a solid plan, and it all starts with the territory they will be calling on.
Sales….. Like Lightning
This is a question that hangs in the air during virtually every conversation between owners, C-Level and Sales Management. One of the tried and true methods to achieve at least half of the equation is to conduct a sales blitz. The trick is how do you morph a temporary sales boost into the “new normal”?
A sales blitz is designed to fulfill the urgent need of increasing sales pipelines immediately. And most sales organizations know the basic “flavors” of blitzes with formats being designed for, at best, impermanent returns. I say both goals of an immediate sales bump and establishing the “new normal” are possible.
It’s a challenge melding lead generation, continual development training and motivational sales meetings, I grant you, but if you run a Blitz using this system be prepared for a revenue growing, “sales climate changing” event.
S.E.T.U.P. your team for success
This step should start minimally 60 days before the blitz. Map out EVERY detail from the initial touch, phone dial, live visit, all follow-up and ongoing relationship builders and more. At the planning meeting ask these questions:
What market/area are you attempt to penetrate?
What is the goal(s) of the blitz? Short term, Mid Term and Long Term?
How can you warm up the market/area you will be blitzing?
What will you use to warm them up? What frequency? What platform?
What products fit/are most desired by this market?
What vendors should you team with?
What should your teams have with them? Brochures? Giveaways?
What will be the competition’s reaction?
These questions are a great starting point but you have to go deeper yet. We all know long term sales success is about the grind. Doing the little things everyday that build best practice habits that ultimately pay off. It’s the same here only we need to “microwave” the process a bit.
Day 60 should begin with teaching of an effective lead generation system and every system is made up of 3 things, tactics, strategy and learned skills.
Many of the tactics and strategies that need to be adopted are here http://matriximpact.com/site/?p=1125.
Your team also need SPECIFIC skills. Those skills need to be practiced in real-life simulations tightly tied to the reality they will experience. Here are 5 of the skills that will be required of anyone participating in the Blitz.
Client research and its application
Tele-Sales: Warming up the drop-in
Lobby Intro: Getting past the Gate Keeper or at least gaining needed info
Benefit Value Discussion: Setting the hook to continue the discussion
Facility Walk-through Technique: How do you maximize contact with the right person?
Wrapping up the visit: Very few drop-ins will result in a sale. The real goal is increase and expand in your sales pipeline
There should be a regular schedule of training leading up to the Blitz event. Refresher classes, reviews and Blitz day reminders for everybody involved. This is why there needs to be a Blitz QB. One who can coordinate information, learning and distribution for all the Blitz teams.
There are many tools needed for a successful Blitz. Call Template, all lead generation letters, impact touches, pairing maps, company intelligence, handouts, giveaways schedules and more, all customized for your business and for the goal of your Blitz.
The key is to be prepared and start the assembling of your tools sooner rather than later.
Users & Interface
Everything management does HAS TO BE hands-on. Management needs to be the great guiding hand in the structure of the Blitz but it also needs to be a participant during the Blitz days. I have had everyone from Middle Managers to Vice President’s of Sales to Owners come up to me after a Blitz and effusively say “John, thank you for making sure I was on a Blitz team”.
Think about it. They get out of the office routine of meetings and problems and get to spend minimum 2 days with sales people and customers. They find out what the ground troops do on an everyday basis and what has changed over the years. They hear first hand customer’s issues and concerns. It can reinvigorate the most curmudgeonly of management and this isn’t even the best reason.
When a prospect/customer is introduced to the Vice President or Owner the look on their face is priceless. I mean WOW, the VP or Owner took time out of her/his day to come and visit. Few gestures have a greater customer service impact than this.
Sales people MUST take ownership as well. They have to be involved in all strategy discussions. There a a multitude of tasks that need to be divvied up among the sales team. A sales person has to be the in-office Blitz QB. This is a critical position. Their job is to coordinate all activity. They have to stay in touch with the teams and provide updates. They are also troubleshooters as opportunities or problems come up. Depending on the size of the blitz you can have as many 2 or 3 QB’s to ensure you have proper support.
The bottom-line: from ownership to front-line sales, everybody plays a crucial role in the execution of a successful Blitz .
This is what it is all about! You need to GUARANTEE your team is prepared, practiced and energized. If you do you will be SETUP! to have a successful Blitz day(s) and to continue your success throughout the year.
After your strategy meeting(s) you need to conduct
Weekly update meetings: No longer than 30 minutes but it is CRITICAL to make sure everyone is completing their assigned duties, remember there is no small job when executing a Blitz.
Minimum of 3 education sessions: Would you rather your salespeople practice on their customers or with you?
Blitz Kickoff: Night before the Blitz you cover every detail and logistic necessary and take all questions. Team & territory assignments, Car stock, Vendor presentation and motivation. Make sure you have daily goals and prizes for performance as well.
Blitz Day: Everybody rallies at central location, unless territory demands call in. You go over any final pieces and send them off to kick BUTT.
Blitz Day Re-Cap: Everybody reconvenes at central location. You cover the results, hand out daily prizes, share successes, what worked and what didn’t then break for dinner.
Blitz Wrap Up: Similar to Re-Cap. You also need to triage all leads and assign to proper parties. Agree on timing of followup meetings to check progress of leads, generally think 2 weeks out, a month out and 90 days out. This will allow you to see “the toothpaste getting squeezed through the tube”.
Below are the Performance results from a tightly run, well executed Blitz.
You need to lay the ground work for continued nurture prospecting that leads to a steady stream of sales revenue for the foreseeable future. This process focuses on installing habits in your sales team and helping to either create or augment a lead generation system. When executed correctly, a Blitz will bring in immediate sales dollars and set the tone for ongoing success within your current selling environment.
A Blitz is not a band-aid type solution to improving sluggish sales. It’s an organic, holistic method to improving today’s sales revenue AND your overall sales atmosphere, establishing a “new normal” to your team’s everyday sales activities and results.
Selling to the Government and Municipalities
I recently had a great conversation with an old friend about this topic, specifically about making a presentation to a group of decision makers and influencers. Below is the summary of my advice to him.
Rule 1: Don’t waste precious time talking about how great your company is, how many locations or how much yearly revenue it achieves. Customers want to know SPECIFICALLY how you can solve their problems and how you can save them money.
Governments/schools are two verticals highly resistant to change but they do
understand budgets and DOLLARS.
Tie problems/issues together with their price tags EARLY and often in your presentation.
People can’t cognitively get their head around the big numbers quickly. DO NOT try a big, dramatic reveal just before presenting the investment (not price). If you try and pull a “ROI rabbit” out of your hat at the end of a presentation they will initially think it is a “sales trick.” Build the ROI case slowly from the beginning, so they are doing the math as they go.
Now, when presenting the investment (not price) customers already have the simple math down and are thinking “this solution amortizes itself over x years or months.”
Final Point: The first thing government, schools and the like think when seeing they can save money on a potential solution is what they can buy with the savings. Remember the nature of budgets in governments, municipalities and schools is if you don’t use it, you lose it.
What else is in their plans?
What projects could they fund with the savings from your project?
How would it make the decision maker(s) look like heroes?
If you can answer these questions, if you can make the DMs heroes or make a dream project come true you are not a sales person but a savior and the sale closes itself!
Remember the words of Seth Godin “People rarely buy what they need, they buy what they want.”
5 ½ Reasons Why You Should Include Simulations in Your Hiring and Training Processes
People are your most precious resource. Nobody WANTS to make a mistake in hiring or promotions. When it comes to training Andy Grove, the Intel visionary, said it best, “The most important charge a good manager owns is the responsibility to continuously train his/her employees.”
Below are the 5 ½ reasons why simulations should be an integral part of your hiring, promotion and training processes.
The 5 to 1 Ratio
A mis-hire/promote costs the company 5 times the candidate’s annual compensation ($50,000 salary costs the company $250,000).
With training its just as easy to see the ROI. A business parable for you:
CEO said to the CFO ‘We have to train our people to get better.’
CFO says ‘Yea but what if we invest time and money to train them and they leave us to go to our competitor?’
CEO shoots back ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’
Whether it is a mis-hire or a less than adequately trained employee the impact on client relations, revenue, productivity, supervision time and morale is negative and it is huge.
The Power of Proof
Have you ever had an interview where the person told you they couldn’t do the job? Or have you ever had a person who “stretched” their abilities in the interview and as a result you were cleaning their messes for days, weeks or months after?
A best practice simulation provides you “Point-to-Point Correspondence” with the job. When the activities found in the simulation are a replica of activities that are required on the job, you get an accurate portrayal of skill level.
This is also why simulations are critical to training. Do you really want salespeople “practicing” on customers? Of course you don’t! General George Patton once said “The more my troops sweat in peacetime the less they bleed during combat.” Simulations are a must in all continual development.
How do They Handle the Debrief
Once they perform in the simulation how do they respond to constructive criticism? Are they thin-skinned? Do they gloat? Is their self-confidence warranted? Many times, you find out the best and the worst of people by observing how they handle coaching.
It also opens a window to know how they learn best. Through the Debrief you will discover what they will and won’t respond to. This can be invaluable as you continue to train and develop your team.
Go to the Video
When recorded, simulations help reduce, if not remove bias and subjectivity in the hiring process in one BIG way, “The eye in the sky does not lie.” You don’t want a he said/she said situation in any business scenario, but especially in simulations.
Here’s a great example of the benefit of recording simulations: A hiring manager who got a ‘good hit’ off a candidate, in an interview, might get a completely different feeling after watching a recorded simulation. The candidate might be the most charming person in the world, but when the time came he didn’t have the skills he trumpeted. In any business, that is a disaster averted.
Recorded simulations are irreplaceable in training as well. There is nothing better than being able to go back and review specific areas for either praise or correction. Plus, reviewing with individuals their recorded progress or regression is a very powerful training tool.
Even if somebody is an A-Player it does not mean they are perfect. Too many onboarding programs fail to adapt to the candidate, thus slowing the speed to effectiveness of the new hire.
Simulations don’t just weed out bad candidates. They also help you to assess a good candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses in a hyper-accurate way. This allows you to design/implement an onboarding process to speed them to productivity. Not to mention it helps in offer decisions like salary negotiations.
5 ½. Positioning Your Company as the Best
The War for Talent is upon us and there are only so many A-Players out there. The mistake most organizations commit is purposefully making the hiring process easier out of fear of losing the candidate.
Thomas Payne said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” Being with the BEST requires paying the PRICE. Candidates learn respect for the position and respect for the company by demonstrating how seriously the company takes the hiring process. The best candidates don’t want to be with some company that just rolls over. Remember everybody wants to belong to The Club that is impossible to get in.
87% of people who voluntarily (i.e .Quit) leave a company do so because of a lack of growth and development opportunity. Its human nature to want to improve, to develop new skills, succeed and advance. If you have good people, make them better.
Use simulations to continually train and develop your team. And you know what they call the company with the top employees… they call that company the BEST!
To ensure you are hiring A-Players and for training to be impactful and ‘sticky’ both have to be closely tied to how things are actually done in your organization. This is why simulations are such a critical management tool.
The Right Way to Hold People Accountable
Hi Folks. In my previous blog post, I was talking about holding yourself accountable as a leader. Well ‘lo and behold this article pops up in my email box this morning.
It is a great piece on the topic of accountability and the 5 areas where you must BE CLEAR for real accountability to truly exist. I will be continue digging into this topic as it relates to sales leadership and management as January progresses.
Here is an excerpt from the article and the link to the entire article is below.
- Clear expectations. The first step is to be crystal clear about what you expect. This means being clear about the outcome you’re looking for, how you’ll measure success, and how people should go about achieving the objective. It doesn’t all have to come from you. In fact, the more skilled your people are, the more ideas and strategies should be coming from them. Have a genuinely two-way conversation, and before it’s over, ask the other person to summarize the important pieces — the outcome they’re going for, how they are going to achieve it, and how they’ll know whether they’re successful — to make sure you’re ending up on the same page. Writing out a summary is a good idea but doesn’t replace saying it out loud.
- Clear capability. What skills does the person need to meet the expectations? What resources will they need? If the person does not have what’s necessary, can they acquire what’s missing? If so, what’s the plan? If not, you’ll need to delegate to someone else. Otherwise you’re setting them up for failure.
- Clear measurement. Nothing frustrates leaders more than being surprised by failure. Sometimes this surprise is because the person who should be delivering is afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it comes from premature optimism on both sides. Either way, it’s completely avoidable. During the expectations conversation, you should agree on weekly milestones with clear, measurable, objective targets. If any of these targets slip, jump on it immediately. Brainstorm a solution, identify a fix, redesign the schedule, or respond in some other way that gets the person back on track.
- Clear feedback. Honest, open, ongoing feedback is critical. People should know where they stand. If you have clear expectations, capability, and measurement, the feedback can be fact-based and easy to deliver. Is the person delivering on her commitments? Is she working well with the other stakeholders? If she needs to increase her capability, is she on track? The feedback can also go both ways — is there something you can be doing to be more helpful? Give feedback weekly, and remember it’s more important to be helpful than nice.
- Clear consequences. If you’ve been clear in all of the above ways, you can be reasonably sure that you did what’s necessary to support their performance. At this point, you have three choices: repeat, reward, or release. Repeat the steps above if you feel that there is still a lack of clarity in the system. If the person succeeded, you should reward them appropriately (acknowledgement, promotion, etc.). If they have not proven accountable and you are reasonably certain that you followed the steps above, then they are not a good fit for the role, and you should release them from it (change roles, fire them, etc.).
Link to the rest of the article is right here
The Right Way to Hold People Accountable
Are You Holding Yourself Accountable as a Leader?
I spend my days helping organizations grow their sales an average of 42%. The longer I am in this field the more I realize NOTHING is more important than having the right people in place, especially in leadership. One of my favorite quotes on the subject comes from Alexander the Great: “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”
We can set processes in place and develop naive sales people into savvy business people but if the people at the top don’t get it we may as well go to the window and throw our money out of it.
This is a BIG area of concern for every sales leader out there in the coming year. I promise to do everything I can to help you keep your eyes on the prize and doing the things needed to be a success but in the end it comes down to you. Or as I like to say “you can either make sales or you can make excuses but you can’t do both.”
Couple questions to ask yourself:
- “What are you accountable for as a leader and are YOU meeting those expectations?”
- “How do you hold yourself accountable?” Do you have an“accountability partner” or do you just “wing it”?
- “Do you have clearly defined and communicated expectations?”
- “How do you keep FOCUSED?”
Below is the text from a one page reminder Click Here for the PDF version of this http://www.slideshare.net/JohnKolencik/are-holding-yourself-accountable-as-a-leader
“As leaders, we enjoy the responsibility of helping our people develop in a way that encourages them to hold themselves accountable for their attitudes, their work, and their results.
We need to be as disciplined, resourceful, and resilient in our efforts as we ask our people to be in theirs.
Relentless leadership is embracing the fact that the need for reinforcement never ends and uncomfortable conversations are a necessity. This is how something special is created.”
Click Here for the PDF version of this http://www.slideshare.net/JohnKolencik/are-holding-yourself-accountable-as-a-leader
Everybody is BUSY!
There is a great scene in Seinfeld where George is talking to a character about being busy and I’ll be dipped if it isn’t what we all would LOVE to say to our customers. You can view the clip here (Busy, Busy, Busy) Pinpoint as usual from George. Customers are always busy. We are always busy.
It is great to be busy. We have all kind of projects going on and meetings to go to. The only problem is when all that “busyness” actually holds you back from taking the next step in REALLY growing your business. Before long you blink and the 1st quarter of the year is gone. You say to yourself “well at least we closed ‘X’ amount of business” The RIGHT question is “how much business COULD you have closed?”
How & Why We Get Trapped
I have seen and been on the front-line of this very phenomenon in multiple industries, the cable (TV) industry in the late 90’s, electronic components in the mid 00’s and construction/building products in the late 00’s to name a few. Here’s the problem, you are so busy with day to day activities, doing the immediate pressing tasks you never find the time for the proactive, big picture, revenue boosting activities that can drive your sales for months and years to come.
You tell yourself you’ll get to it eventually but the sad truth is you NEVER do. You simply move on to the next immediate task all the while thinking to yourself that you feel like a hamster on an exercise wheel. The question is HOW do you break out of the rut and move things forward?
Listen to NIKE
There is NEVER an actual perfect time so do it NOW! FORCE yourself to evaluate what is going on. Decide on what activities are needed, what tactics/strategies should be employed, and then execute.
Speed is What We Need!
The effective use of speed is critical and clearly a competitive weapon. Move fast, or become HISTORY as everything you do increases your competitive position or moves you one step closer to being competitive toast.
Confronted with a constantly shifting array of customers, competitors, strategic alliances, technology and market volatility, the only hope for increased productivity lies in developing the ability to move and change at least as rapidly as your competitive environment.
The company or individual that does not embrace the importance of speed will be HAMMERED.
In fact, as a strategic weapon, speed is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation.
Pretty simple formula, but as everything the trick is in the execution. You’re busy I get it, but it is time to make a decision. Are you too busy to improve your business or are you willing to look past the immediate and recognize what has to happen to keep your business growing?
What are the Metrics that Matter?
Most Sales Departments stink when it comes to tracking their numbers. The question upper management ALWAYS asks is why? My two cents; we don’t know the most important numbers to track and we don’t realize how important they are to our entire selling effort. Well, those excuses end today!
The first area that we need to clear up is the difference between trailing and leading indicators. Trailing indicators refer to metrics that happen as a RESULT or in the past. Number of sales closed or total dollar amount closed are examples of the trailing variety. Leading indicators are what foretell objectives and what results will be in the future. The activities that a sales person performs on a daily basis, such as phone calls or appointments, are examples of leading indicators.
We always need to know how many and how much business has been closed (trailing) but we can’t control the actual closing of the sale. That is why we can never lose sight of the activities (leading) it takes to fill the pipeline and, more importantly, directly affect the closing of the sale. This is crucial to short and long term forecasting accuracy and critically more important to overall SALES SUCCESS.
Leading Metric Indicators
I first focus on the BIG 4 of Leading Metric Indicators (LMI’s): Calls, Discovery Appointments, Presentations and Closes. These are pillars of a sale that will tell you the overall picture of what is working, why it is working and what needs to be fixed.
The next LMI’s that I track are more descriptive of the sales reps everyday work.
- How many leads (non-qualified contacts) are they working on?
- How many opportunities (qualified contacts in the buying cycle) are they working on?
- What type of accounts are the reps calling on?
- What is the job function of their main contact?
If the BIG 4 gives you the overall picture, when you drill down to this level you uncover more of the texture in the everyday activities of your sales team. Not just the raw numbers but WHY you are getting the raw numbers. When we understand both sets of LMI’s and their conversion rates it helps us to more accurately predict closing rates in the near and long term.
Trailing Metrics Indicators
I always track total number of closed sales and total sales dollars. They are important and necessary to measure where we have finished historically, yet it always amazes me what sales management forgets to measure in the Trailing Metric Indicator (TMI) category.
A.U.S.P. or average unit selling price is the total sales dollars divided by the total number of sales. For example if total sales dollars are $100,000 and total number sales are 10 your A.U.S.P. equals $10,000. Knowing this number tells you how many sales it will take to hit your objective. This TMI is key to planning your goals and objectives throughout the year.
The final TMI I track is Average Velocity of Sale or the A.V.O.S. This is the average time from when a lead becomes an opportunity to when it converts to a sale. Having the handle on this metric allows you to realistically plan WHEN your business is going to hit.
12 chapters of data making up one book; lose one of the chapters and you wonder how and why things are happening. Lose two chapters and the story starts to sound nonsensical. Lose three and you wonder why you started reading the book at all. 12 categories of data when monitored and measured can radically affect your sales team’s short and long term success and viability.
Sure it takes time and getting sales to record their info is difficult. Keeping up with the numbers is a job in of itself. I have heard all of the excuses before. I leave you with a question. If you could produce a set of numbers telling you how to improve, what to improve and when to improve your sales results wouldn’t you want to know them and wouldn’t you do everything in your power to track them? Yea, I don’t know either…
Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Sales I Learned From the Movies: Monsters, Inc.
3 Sales Management Lessons From
The Power of Practice
We all think we are sooooo great! Just wind us up, do a little preparation and let’s go talk to customers. Well the scary characters in Monsters, Inc. would tell you different. Scaring is critically important in their world because the “screams” that come from the children they scare power their city, lights, heat, cars you name it.
The first scene in the movie shows their training area where they practice “scaring.” They have a replica child’s room complete with a “little boy” robot. One of the “professional scarers” comes out of the closet to scare the little boy and he makes some serious mistakes. It is prime learning time for the all monsters on the team because they video tape the simulations. Now they can go back and coach/correct all the mistakes. It helps the individual monster making the mistakes and all the other monsters on the team.
Sound familiar? Folks you are making a gravely serious mistake if you do not conduct simulations with your team. Make them as real to life as you possibly can. Video tape them so you can document progress or regression. Make the simulations part of your weekly/monthly/quarterly sales meetings. Make them fun, have contests around them. But most of all DO THEM!
You should also practice presentations with every rep individually. Don’t leave anything to chance. Give your rep the best shot possible by running through the discovery/presentation/negotiation with them BEFORE they go to it. George Patton, one of our greatest generals of all time, said “Sure I am tough on them during training! I much rather they sweat with me than bleed on the battle field.” Well, I rather my sales people learn in an office from me so they are prepared to get the sale, than by learning a lesson with a client and losing the sale.
The Power of Naming
About half-way through the movie there is a scene where the two main characters, Sully and Mike, are trying to send home the little girl who snuck into the Monster’s world. They are arguing about how to do it when Sully says that he has named her “Boo.” Well Mike is just livid at this development and he says, in a very angry voice, “You named it? You can’t name it; once you name it you get attached to it.” Exactly, once we take the time and effort to name something we begin to place value on that something. It is the reason why I tell all my clients that they should name their proposals.
What is special about an ‘Investment Analysis for ABC Company’ or what about ‘A Proposal for Electronic Payment Services Prepared by Joe Smith Company’? Answer: NOTHING. Both sound as generic as the proposal inside, I would wager. That is why I am amazed when sales management does not make formally naming proposals an air tight rule for every proposal that goes out the door.
The proposal is supposed to be a professional selling document not a glorified descriptive invoice. NAME YOUR PROPOSAL based on what the prospect wants as a RESULT of buying your products and services. A couple of examples I have used:
- “How to Improve your Sales Team While Increasing Sales Revenue”
- “Increase the Productivity of your Customer Service Team and Watch your Sales Soar”
- “Creating a Lead Generation System that Produces an Ongoing Stream of Quality, Qualified Leads”
Each one of the above Proposal Names tell the prospect EXACTLY what to expect from reading the proposal but more importantly each name tells THE VALUE that comes from implementing what is inside the proposal.
The Power of Laughter
Remember when I told you that a child’s scream was the source for power in Monster City? Well by the end of the movie Sully and Mike learn that laughter is 10 times more powerful than a scream so they completely re-engineer Monsters, Inc. Now each monster who visits a child’s room has to make the children laugh instead of scream and the result is a record breaking year for energy production.
Managers, find a way to make sales fun for your team. Have contests, pit individuals against each other, get your team to volunteer for community events or hold them yourself and ALWAYS celebrate victories with your team. Take them out for cocktails or dinner or both, take them bowling, take them to an amusement park, it doesn’t matter what you do, the effort here COUNTS, but try to have fun with your team.
I know you need to maintain a certain professional distance from the team. If you get too close it can cloud your judgment or worse cost you a great sales person or a big sale. I am also aware there is always going to be the need to be tough with your team. There will also always be the need to place corrective actions on 1 or more members of your team. That’s fine just don’t let your managerial brio get in the way of having your team enjoy themselves.
Remember laughter is 10 times more powerful than screams keep that ratio in mind and you will be amazed at the results.