Sales Presentations Feed

The Sales-Performance Puzzle: How to Solve It

Video_PerformancePuzzle
This is the month in which many sales organizations are busy with the Big Sales Kickoff. As the sales leader, you orchestrate a fast-paced show delivered by your company’s best platform talent. The CEO’s keynote is inspirational, the CMO’s presentation is aspirational, the product manager’s demo rocks, and your keynote is densely packed with bold and optimistic predictions and tough challenges. As the sales leader, you are the merchant of hope, and your salespeople are swallowing your message hook, line, and sinker.

But after the team heads for the airport, you may be left with a nagging question: what impact will this kickoff have on your sales numbers? Here is my guess:

1. Retention of information

Twenty percent of your salespeople will absorb 80 percent of the content and then use half of it with customers. Eighty percent of your salespeople will absorb 20 percent of the content and use one-third of it with customers.

2. Impact on motivation

Eighty percent of your salespeople will feel recharged and optimistic about the company and their future, and 20 percent will continue shopping for better opportunities.

3. Acquisition of selling skills

Ninety percent of your salespeople listened to some of the selling skills you shared during the kickoff meeting, but fewer than 10 percent will try to apply the new skills, and after experiencing some failure they’ll revert to their old behavior.

If you don’t believe my guesstimates, consider the solid numbers uncovered by ES Research: according to ES Research’s sales-training surveys, between 85 and 90 percent of sales training has no impact after 120 days. Of the $5 billion US companies spend yearly on sales training, more than $4.25 billion are wasted.

Last week I interviewed John Doerr, a sales-training expert. John is co-president at RAIN Group. I edited the one-hour interview to the most essential nine minutes, and I highly recommend that you watch them, since he shares uncommon insight into solving the sales-performance puzzle.

If you are short on time, you can skip to the end, where I summarized the key points in a few PPT slides (that you can download from our new Website, www.salesopshop.com). To watch the video, click on the image below.

Clip_image002
Please feel free to comment below, or tweet your questions using #salesopchat.

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Revamp Your Sales Pitch Today (You Might Win Big)

If you've recently attended a Sales 2.0 Event, you might remember me saying that salespeople need to "ditch the pitch!"

This is my shorthand way of saying that the audience for your sales pitch (or elevator pitch) has changed. We are currently living in a conversation economy. Buyers today don't want to talk with someone who knows nothing about their needs. The challenge for sales professionals is to find engaging ways to explain who they are, what they do, and how they can help customers and prospects -- without launching into a dull monologue or overenthusiastic babbling. 

The world of selling is moving toward collaboration and co-creation. It's time to ditch the flat, scripted sales pitch. Just as you routinely update technology, hire new and better sales reps, and renovate your sales process, you also want to give attention to your personal and professional messaging.

If you think you've got a strong sales pitch, put it to the test. Record a 60-second video in the next two days and enter to win the 2012 iMeet/Sales 2.0 Sales Pitch Contest. Winners will be announced live on Monday at the Sales Management 2.0 Conference in Philadelphia (which I'll be hosting). Prizes include an iPad2, and more.

Revamp your sales pitch today and get ready to join the conversation economy. 

BONUS: Watch this video for some of my quick tips on how you can use emotion to captivate and persuade your audience.


6 Ways to Get Executive Buy-In on Sales Performance Tools

Cabrera_newToday's blog post is by Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, the industry leader in sales compensation automation.

 

Trying to convince management to invest in new sales performance tools to make salespeople's lives easier is no walk in the park. While you understand how much certain sales applications would improve sales productivity, management expects you to demonstrate the value of any new solution.

Sales-150x150The big idea is—in order to make sales easier on you and your team, you need to do what you are supposed to do as a sales professional: align the value of the solution with what your customers want to achieve.

Here are six guidelines to follow when you're pitching new solutions to management:

1. Get agreement on what management wants to accomplish

If your CEO wants to increase sales by 20% without a significant increase in cost, do the math for a few what-if scenarios, such as:

  • What if we had technology that could improve the number of qualified leads by 100%?
  • What if our demand generation team had technology that made them 200% more effective?
  • What if we could deploy technology that shortened our sales cycle by 50%?
  • What if we cut the time it takes our sales team to write proposals from hours to minutes?

Sales2-150x150The technology to achieve any of the above already exists. The challenge is finding a solution for your unique situation.

Technology is our means to accomplish our aims. Always begin with the aim, before pitching the means.

2. Be clear about the risk

Not every technology delivers ROI. Technology is only one part of a three-legged stool. People and Process are the other two. Ask yourself:

  • How will the new technology change our processes?
  • How will our salespeople react to a change in process AND technology?
  • What will be the user adoption process?

Do a "Pre-Mortem Analysis" where you assume that your project has failed. Work backwards and define how to avoid unexpected failures.

3. Understand and define the pain

Selling can become painful when salespeople don't have the right sales tools.

  • Study the workflow of your salespeople.
  • Ask them to prioritize their 3 biggest time wasters.
  • Invite your sales team to a 1-hr "gripe" session to voice what they dislike most about their jobs.

There are over 1,600 sales applications designed to improve sales productivity. Chances are, applications exist for the majority of their problems.

4. Demonstrate the ROI of a new solution

One simple ROI formula is:

(cost to acquire + cost to maintain during expected life)

/

(money saved per month + increased abilities per month)

=

(number of months to cover costs)

Other tips:

  • Allow for hidden costs, such as customization, the cost of consultants and the cost involved in training and coaching.
  • Know when to say no—if the solution doesn't pay for itself in under a year, you're better off working on another pain point.
  • Talk to at least 3 references—if they haven't been able to measure ROI, you probably won't either. Time to walk

5. Align the new technology with your overall business strategy

The success of a business depends on the continuous alignment of internal resources with external opportunities. Ten years ago there was only one sales technology: CRM. Today, companies rely on a suite of sales and marketing applications.

The two keys to success are:

  1. Alignment
  2. Business strategy integration

For example, software company Brainshark integrated 20 carefully selected sales applications into their sales operation. They spent $4,000 per salesperson and achieved a 35% gain in sales year-over-year, for two years in a row. (Source: Brainshark sales executive)

Map2-150x1506. Create a roadmap for change management

If you want your company to achieve its revenue goals, you must find and deploy sales performance tools that work faster, better and cheaper. But selecting one sales tool a year won't get you very far in this tough economy. You’ll likely need a number of solutions that you deploy over time.

While external change accelerates automatically, it takes great internal effort to match the pace. Change is hard because:

  • People overestimate the value of what they have
  • They also underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving up what they know.

That's why successful business leaders continually challenge the status quo; they drive change to avoid being driven out of business.

They also know that the leaders of change are the leaders who will pocket the most change.

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Facebook – Your Social-Selling Platform

Kevin-crop-black-shirt-150x150 51jpM0vSzaL._SL110_Today' s post is by guest blogger Kevin Knebl, speaker, trainer, advisor to Fortune 500 companies, and coauthor of The Social Media Sales Revolution.

 

 

Facebook is The Beatles of the 21st century. It's everywhere, it's getting bigger, and it's not going away. Sharp salespeople realize this and capitalize on it.

As a salesperson, you know, as Bob Burg so famously says, "All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they know, like, and trust." Facebook enables us to create "know/like/trust" relationships with prospects, clients, and referral sources in ways that even a few years ago would have amazed us.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you're using Facebook in your sales efforts:

  • Your Wall is the place to build a sense of community with your fans and where you should be interacting with them in a "non-salesy" manner.
  • Use Facebook Ads to reach a very targeted demographic of potential buyers.
  • You can create ads that only target your existing fans, and the number one reason people become fans is to take advantage of promotional offers.

Many salespeople in my audiences are asking when and how frequently they should be posting. They're already very busy and don't want the additional burden of having to become a 24/7/365 social-media maven. The good news is that, just like in real life, no one wants to be inundated with a barrage of information. Post once a day or once every other day. That's enough.

Remember that most people are checking Facebook after work, so schedule your posts for the early evening and weekends. People will be more relaxed at those times and more receptive to your messages.

As you're thinking of the type of content to post, keep in mind topics that are popular, in the news, and at first may appear to have no relation to your business. When you figure out a way to mention these topics in your posts, it drives more engagement from your fans. 

Think of your Facebook posts as kind of like your sales funnel. It's wide at the top, and you should be posting things that a large number of people may find interest in. Folks "like" your page, and over time you're looking to move them through the pipeline by posting a mix of broad messages and also specific, targeted information that your ideal clients will find valuable. In this manner, you're constantly bringing new people into your community and also adding more value to existing fans.

Above all, have fun. Seriously. No one has the Rosetta Stone on social media. The irony is that social media isn't about technology; it's about sociology. Salespeople who realize that adults are just kids with long, hairy legs who just want to be happy can deliver value to their prospects and referral sources.

Facebook is allowing us to connect and interconnect in wonderful ways. What goes around comes around. At the speed of light. Literally. Seek to be a value generator in everything you do, and in a more-and-more-interconnected, overcaffeinated, hypercompetitive, Mach-5-with-your-receding-hairline-on-fire world, that pay-it-forward spirit will serve you well.

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Mobile Apps for Sales

Lauren Today's post was written by Lauren Carlson, a writer and market analyst out of Austin, Texas. She focuses on enterprise technology in the area of customer relationship management. She has been mentioned on Forbes.com and other notable Websites. You can see her articles regularly on the Software Advice blog.

 

In an increasingly mobile business world, professionals operate day-to-day on their mobile devices. Because of this, vendors have worked to develop the best apps that can bring all the necessary business functionality to an individual on the go. One profession that stands to benefit most from these apps is sales. Software Advice decided to see what is available on mobile devices to match the needs of a mobile sales force, and we were honestly amazed at the great tools we found. We highlight some of our favorites below.

Networking
Hashable_Image Hashable Mobile: With everything else going digital, why shouldn't business cards? Hashable has developed a neat app that basically allows you to track everyone you meet. If you can gather an email address or Twitter handle, the app will do the rest. It logs the individual, along with where you met him or her. It allows you to make contact notes, set reminders to follow up, and track phone calls and meetings. Everything can sync back to your calendar and/or email to help keep you organized. Hashable Mobile is free and available for iPhone and Android.

Presentations
Sooner-image Soonr: Soonr brings file collaboration to your mobile device. Not only can you create and edit PowerPoint presentations, but Soonr allows you to access and share more than 40 different types of files, from spreadsheets to MP3s. Because Soonr operates in the cloud, any changes made from your mobile device are automatically saved and synced back to your desktop. Another cool feature is the SMS notification. Whenever a file is updated or edited, anyone who has access to that file will receive a text. This way, you always know what is going on with your files, even if you are thousands of miles from the office. Soonr is $9.95/user/month and is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Android tablets.

Travel
Ftpro_image FlightTrack Pro: One of the biggest pain points in a traveling profession is, you guessed it, traveling! FlightTrack Pro was developed by Mobiata to ease some of that pain. This is probably one of my favorite apps. It allows you to sync your travel itinerary and then sends you push notifications about any itinerary changes – delayed flights, change of gates, etc. It also has a really neat map feature that allows you to track your flight on a visually stunning graphic map. FlightTrack Pro is $9.99 in the App Store and is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Hoovers-image Hoover's Near Here: This app from Hoover's provides lead generation on the go. Sales professionals can access location-based business and contact information about companies anywhere in the United States and Canada. This is extremely useful for those times when you head out on a sales call, only to have the prospect cancel at the last minute. Instead of counting that time as wasted, you can use the Near Here app to see if there are any other prospects in the vicinity. Turn that loss into a possible win. Hoover's Near Here is free and available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

These are just a sampling of the apps. For more information on each one and to see more choices for each category, check out the original article here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/crm/apps-for-the-mobile-sales-force-1072811/.


Mobile Apps for Sales

In an increasingly mobile business world, professionals operate day-to-day on their mobile devices. Because of this, vendors have worked to develop the best apps that can bring all the necessary business functionality to an individual on the go. One profession that stands to benefit most from these apps is sales. Software Advice decided to see what is available on mobile devices to match the needs of a mobile sales force, and we were honestly amazed at the great tools we found. We highlight some of our favorites below.

Networking
Hashable Mobile: With everything else going digital, why shouldn't business cards? Hashable has developed a neat app that basically allows you to track everyone you meet. If you can gather an email address or Twitter handle, the app will do the rest. It logs the individual, along with where you met him or her. It allows you to make contact notes, set reminders to follow up, and track phone calls and meetings. Everything can sync back to your calendar and/or email to help keep you organized. Hashable Mobile is free and available for iPhone and Android.

Presentations
Soonr: Soonr brings file collaboration to your mobile device. Not only can you create and edit PowerPoint presentations, but Soonr allows you to access and share more than 40 different types of files, from spreadsheets to MP3s. Because Soonr operates in the cloud, any changes made from your mobile device are automatically saved and synced back to your desktop. Another cool feature is the SMS notification. Whenever a file is updated or edited, anyone who has access to that file will receive a text. This way, you always know what is going on with your files, even if you are thousands of miles from the office. Soonr is $9.95/user/month and is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Android tablets.

Travel
FlightTrack Pro: One of the biggest pain points in a traveling profession is, you guessed it, traveling! FlightTrack Pro was developed by Mobiata to ease some of that pain. This is probably one of my favorite apps. It allows you to sync your travel itinerary and then sends you push notifications about any itinerary changes – delayed flights, change of gates, etc. It also has a really neat map feature that allows you to track your flight on a visually stunning graphic map. FlightTrack Pro is $9.99 in the App Store and is available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Hoover's Near Here: This app from Hoover's provides lead generation on the go. Sales professionals can access location-based business and contact information about companies anywhere in the United States and Canada. This is extremely useful for those times when you head out on a sales call, only to have the prospect cancel at the last minute. Instead of counting that time as wasted, you can use the Near Here app to see if there are any other prospects in the vicinity. Turn that loss into a possible win. Hoover's Near Here is free and available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

These are just a sampling of the apps. For more information on each one and to see more choices for each category, check out the original article here: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/crm/apps-for-the-mobile-sales-force-1072811/.

Lauren Carlson is a writer and market analyst out of Austin, Texas. She focuses on enterprise technology in the area of customer relationship management. She has been mentioned on Forbes.com and other notable Websites. You can see her articles regularly on the Software Advice blog.

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Is Anyone Listening to Your Online Sales Presentation?

Back when I founded Selling Power magazine, we used to write a lot about how salespeople could use nonverbal selling to communicate effectively and win more deals. In fact, in 1989 we published an article on one of the great masters of nonverbal communication, comic actor John Cleese. Although Cleese is best known for television shows and movies like Monty Python's Flying CircusFawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda, he earned equal success in the business world with his sales training company. He advised our readers on how to maintain composure in a stressful situation with a prospect or customer: 
"If you want to maintain composure under pressure, I recommend that you don't fiddle. Try to keep your hands still. Move as little as you possibly can because it looks better. If you're going to make a gesture, make it an easy, fairly big one. Try it in front of the mirror. Don't make short, small, jerky, restrictive movements." 

Today, online messaging has overtaken such traditional face-to-face contact by leaps and bounds. Many sellers today negotiate and close deals exclusively over conference calls and online interactions. Instead of body language, we use virtual presentation tools to communicate our message. Roger Courville is an author with a lot of great insights and tips about online versus offline presentations. Recently I went to his blog and found some very relevant and practical points about common presentation problems: Why use a chart if you have to explain it? Why ask your audience to be interactive and then spend the entire presentation pontificating? Why use speakerphone when it provides poor audio quality? 

Based on many of the presentations I've seen from salespeople over the years, this is advice the sales industry needs to hear. Why? Depending on the quality of the tools you use and your proficiency in using them, you have the ability to create a positive or negative presentation experience. Your slide decks and audio quality are today's equivalent of a strong handshake and good eye contact.

The bottom line is that a successful sales personality should be able to translate just as easily in an online world as the real world. Just ask John Cleese -- these days, you can find him on Twitter. 

John cleese
 

Full disclosure: OTuesday, June 14, Roger Courville will be providing insights and advice on how to execute successful presentations online during a live webinar that Selling Power is co-producing -- if you're interested in joining us, you can go here to register.