12 Development Days of Christmas

12 Development Days of Christmas!

12 things any Sales Director or Manager can do to develop their people against 2017’s best practice, which cost you nothing, but might just help you smash your targets in 2018!

For over 20 years, CSO Insights has been conducting specialist research into sales, sales trends and sales activity.  It now has over 350 metrics that it measures across multiple industries.  This year’s report shows that fewer sales people than previous years (53% vs 63% in 2011) are hitting their targets.

Their latest report focused in on nearly 60 "world class" organisational competencies (half people and half process) that make a difference to sales performance and below we have the Top 12 (ranked in order).

At Chilli Pepper Development we love the theory but only when it links into action; so what can you actually do with this top 12?  We’ve identified one action for each competency that a sales director or manager can implement to improve both team and individual performance.

Normally we’d prefer you to buy this insight from us, but as it is Christmas (and we’re passionate about developing sales people – whether you can afford outside help or not), here it is for free!

1. Sales people consistently and effectively articulate a solution that is aligned to the customer’s needs (People)

Do your people present first and then ask questions later?  Challenge your people to tell you in less than 1 minute clearly how their next proposal matches the customer specific needs.

2. They deliver a consistent customer experience that lives up to and aligns with our brand promise (People)

What are your sales team values and behaviours?  Do you and they know?  Next time you see your people in front of their customer, give them feedback only on “how” they behave rather than the results they get.

3 - They continually assess why our top performers are successful (Process)

Who are your top performers?  What specific actions and habits do they have that make them successful?  Ask them for their personal Top 5 “things that make them succeed”.

4 - When they lose a salesperson (voluntarily/involuntarily), they consistently determine the reasons why (Process)

Take responsibility for exit interviewing every single sales person who leaves your organisation.  Find the good, bad and ugly of what you and your business offer and make improvements.  Is it the induction, benefits, your management style, product, skills development?  Encourage full transparency and take action. 

(This is a personal “hot topic” at Chilli Pepper – give us a call for a chat if losing salespeople is costing you a fortune!)

5 - They effectively collect and share best practices across their sales and service organisations (Process)

Share the “Top 5’s” from your best performers to the rest of the team and build into their personal development plans.  If you have sales competitions, part of the winner’s prize is a compulsory requirement to share what they did (and how they did it) with the rest of the team.

6 - Sales Managers are held accountable for the effective use of sales tools and resources by the salesforce (Process)

Over to you!  Do your team use all the tools at their disposal?  Are they on top of the CRM or is the information there incomplete and outdated?  People will respect what you inspect – build a culture that uses tools; get the team to champion and share between them, how they use the tools effectively.

7 - Salespeople consistently and effectively communicate appropriate value messages that are aligned to our customers or prospects needs (People)

What value do your team communicate throughout the sales process?  From cold calling, email intros, proposal presentation – each key stage of movement along the sales cycle, requires an ability to concisely re-enforce the value message.  Challenge your team at every stage of the sales cycle to clearly state their value message and share the best ones.

8 - Their culture supports continuous development of sales people and sales leaders (Process)

Agree personal learning objectives with your team that cost nothing e.g. reading a sales book and implementing 3 ideas from it; attending a Sales Seminar and sharing what they learn with the team; run a training session in the team meeting (that they have to research before they carry it out!).  Lead by example and set yourself quarterly goals and objectives – share with your team and live the values that you want to encourage in others. 

9 - As part of the performance review process, the organisation consistently develops and ensures implementation of personalized performance improvement plans (Process)

Performance management of strong, average and weak performers within your team is key to growth.  Monthly performance check-ins, coaching sessions, annual and bi-annual reviews all play a part in that.  Agree quarterly objectives for every team member that focus on skills and personal development, having clear added value to them and the business.

10 - Customers have consistently positive interactions with us regardless of which channel(s) they use to work with them (People)

Map out a typical customer contact map with your organisation – from first cold call, through to being a trusted advisor status.  Which are the touch points between the customer and your organisation – where are the strengths and the weaknesses.  Call 3 customers and ask them for their opinions and input.

11 - The sales team are effective at “surfacing” the specific reasons why certain customers stop doing business with them (People)

This is for you to lead, rather than your team.  Speak directly to the decision makers within your customer base to explore why they left you.  It may give you ideas to improve upon, and at the least, will leave the lines open should the customer want to come back to you.  Phone 3 customers who haven’t done business with you in the last 6 months.

12 - Sales people are effective at selling value to avoid discounting or gaining comparative value in return for price concessions (People)

Observe your sales team in action and see how they respond to the discount question.  Hold a training session in your next team meeting to explore the impact of discounting to your business; options they have to avoid it; and have them practice getting comfortable with pushing back to the customer.

Here is the link to the full CSO Insights report https://www.csoinsights.com/research-studies/ which is a great read.

Which one stood out to you as a quick win for your team?  Drop us a line for any pointers or support – or just let us know which one has worked for you and the difference it makes.

Either way, have a fantastic Christmas and it would be great to talk in 2018.

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