How To Improve Sales Team Performance with 4 Easy Adjustments

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Benchmark data spotlights four fundamentals to improve sales team performance

There are some basics to every sales call that most sales teams tend to take for granted. Sales and enablement leaders assume that their teams are highly capable of executing the fundamentals of a sales conversation. They lack the visibility into daily sales interactions to really get a good snapshot of how these fundamentals are used in the field. As a result, when met with the question of how to improve sales team performance, they will fixate on adjusting activity levels, offers, messaging, and/or processes to improve outcomes.

Michael Jordan said, “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”

Companies make huge investments in big sales transformations, consulting, methodologies, etc. when the end result is going to be the same. When a team lags in performing fundamental skills, no messaging strategy is going to have the intended impact, and sales performance fails to hit expectations.

The data from our 2018 Sales Team Performance Benchmark Report spotlights a critical need for optimization in four fundamental sales skills. This data is based on the observation and assessment of over 32,000 sales calls over a range of company sizes and industries.

1. Setting an Effective Agenda

how to improve sales team performance_Agenda100% of your reps should be able to set an effective agenda at the beginning of each call or meeting. This is a fundamental, yet simple, area of improvement to focus on in your team and will have a clear impact.

Setting an agenda establishes a mutually agreed upon purpose for your meeting, ensuring that the time the prospect spends with your sellers is uniquely relevant and valuable to them. This helps build the relationship by signaling that your seller respects their time and has something valuable to share with them in return.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Agendas

  • Write it Down: Have your sellers draft their agenda for a given interaction type and review it with you in their 1:1. The agenda should remain 90% the same for any conversation of that interaction type.
  • Roleplay: Have your seller roleplay setting an agenda. Ultimately, sellers fail to set an agenda because they get excited at the beginning of the call, and then before they know it, they are straight into discovery. Give them the opportunity to practice so it becomes second nature.
  • Monitor and Recognize It: Provide feedback (positive and constructive) to your sellers on their agenda every time you attend one of their meetings to continue to reinforce positive habits.

2. Telling a Client Story

how to improve sales team performance_ClientStoryOur brains are wired to seek out stories. Stories give us a glimpse into what our lives could be like if we make the same choice that others have already. A client story gives your prospect tangible proof of success and assures them that, as a customer, they will be in good company. It also helps establish trust and provides third-party validation to your solution.

It is relatively easy to teach sellers how to tell an effective client story during a sales calls. Sellers should be equipped with available stories that align with customer needs, profiles, industries, pain points, etc. Given the information, your sellers then need to practice incorporating the story and making it their own. If appropriate, it is also often helpful to provide slides that sellers can include in their decks that help illustrate the key points of each story.

Access the full Sales Team Performance Benchmark Report for more insights & coaching tips >>

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Client Stories

  • Tell Your Sellers a Story: The hardest part of creating a story is having a compelling narrative and arc. If you have client stories that you have found to be successful in your selling, document them and share them with your sellers.
  • Practice Your Story: Have your sellers practice their stories. Like most things, stories improve over time. Consider adding a “story hour” portion to your team meeting where, each week, a seller brings a client-facing customer story and shares it with the group.

3. Differentiation

how to improve sales team performance_DifferentiationHow important is it to your business that customers understand the differences between your solution(s) and those of your competitors? Very important, right?

Differentiation is a core sales skill that leadership expects all sellers to be able to do. But that expectation is being taken for granted when 47% of your sellers are not able to articulate these differences! They are actually creating more harm than good by taking calls with your customers and prospects. In fact, we found that a full 6.29% where providing absolutely no differentiation at all!

More often, we find that sellers talk about features, rather than specific benefits to the client. To effectively differentiate, sellers must be trained to focus on customer needs and how your solution is uniquely capable of filling that need. Features and pricing do not differentiate your solution from your competitors.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Differentiation

  • Play a Game: Is it a feature or a benefit? In one of your team meetings, prepare five to ten index cards with examples of features and benefits of your product. Have team members pick a card from the pile and determine if it is a feature or a benefit.
  • Show and Tell: If you record sales calls, find an example of strong differentiation based on value and an example of a feature dump. Play both clips and have your sellers discuss what they think went well and what did not as a group.

4. Value Proposition

Fb_SpotLighthow to improve sales team performance_ValuePropYour strategic team worked hard to create a value proposition that clearly states how your solution helps your customers. It’s pure gold and ready to be shared with the world. But does your sales team know how to articulate it to your prospects and customers? You have about a 50/50 chance.

Delivering the value proposition in a sales call is critical to establish why the prospect should care about what you are trying to sell. But, in this environment, it needs to be delivered appropriately. Many sales teams have the value proposition scripted; most sellers can recite it in their sleep. But only about half of them can deliver it in a way that is engaging and highly relevant.

How to Improve Your Sales Team’s Value Proposition Delivery

  • Certify: Value propositions should be consistent across sellers. Establish and confirm that all sellers have the knowledge by certifying them on your value proposition.
  • Practice In-Workflow: In an effort to move beyond a flat delivery that often occurs with scripted content, start each of your 1:1s by having sellers tell you the value proposition.

How can you improve sales team performance? By relentlessly focusing on improving and optimizing the fundamental sales skills reps need to be successful. Without that commitment, investment in big, sexy sales transformations, rebrands, consulting, messaging, etc. is just a huge waste of money.

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5 Sales Team Performance Fails Guaranteed to Make You Miss Quota

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New benchmark research highlights 5 sales performance fails that contribute to sales teams missing quota

Infographic_5 Sales Performance FailsWe are all well aware of the statistic that 53% of salespeople fail to hit their quota—and many claim that number will only continue to climb. I don’t think many sales leaders need to be told that, though. You’re living that reality every day. You know that attaining your revenue goal continues to ride on the shoulders of just a small segment of your sales force.

Those star sellers carry the rest of the team, while your enablement and management organizations struggle to onboard, train, coach, and develop an almost continuous stream of new hires, who are thrown into the revolving door with little hope of ever breaking from the middle of the pack. You tell yourself that this is just how it’s always been done, all while sales performance fails to improve quarter over quarter.

Could more of your sellers be closing more deals? Based on our recent research, the answer is a resounding YES!

While many sales leaders inspect the activity of their team to understand how to attain their goal, activity management isn’t solely responsible for sales performance. If you have reps on your team who cannot properly articulate your message and move the conversation forward, it doesn’t much matter how many cold calls, discovery calls, or follow-ups they are completing. They don’t have the skills to effectively close the deal and no activity metric is going to get them there.

Every interaction your sellers have with prospective clients is critical to getting them to their goal. That is why we assessed over 32,000 sales conversations and analyzed the results. This analysis unveiled five critical skills that the average sales rep struggles to effectively implement within the sales conversation.

Sales Performance Fail #1: Telling an Effective Client Story

Our brains are wired to seek out stories. Stories give us a glimpse into what our lives could be like if we make the same choice that others have already. However, 59% of sellers do not tell an effective client story within the sales conversation. Client stories are important to your process because they provide tangible proof of success and a vision of what life could be like for prospective customers. They also assure your prospects that they will be in good company, should they decide to move forward with the relationship.

Our assessment did not just focus on the existence of a client story (23% did indeed tell a client story, but failed to make it engaging and/or relate it specifically to the prospect’s situation). In order to be effective, a client story must be tailored to your prospect’s persona, industry, business need, and/or specific pain points. It must also incorporate a compelling narrative and arc to captivate your audience into relating to it.

It is relatively easy to teach sellers how to tell an effective client story. Sellers should be equipped with available stories that align to customer needs, profiles, industries, pain points, etc. Given the information, your sellers then need to practice incorporating the story and making it their own. If appropriate, it is also often helpful to provide slides that sellers can include in their decks that help illustrate the key points of each story.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #2: Engaging Delivery

In most companies, sellers are given a script or “talk track” to help guide them through the sales conversation. While this is necessary to optimize your sales process and maintaining your message, sellers do need to learn how to make it their own so they can deliver it in a natural, conversational, and compelling way. This is a key skill that separates top performers from the rest of the pack.

Our assessment found that 56% of sellers are not delivering an engaging message to their prospective customers. While most salespeople can hit the key talking points, features, and positioning marks, few can make them come alive for the person on the other side of the conversation. Many people think this is a skill reserved only for “natural-born salespeople”, but it is absolutely a skill that can be taught and learned—with a bit of practice.

Train your sales reps to do their research, ask engaging questions, tell a compelling client story, and be unexpected. There is nothing like throwing a little curveball into the conversation to bring your prospect back into the meeting and stimulate a reaction.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #3: Value Proposition

Your sellers can likely recite your company’s value proposition in their sleep. But that just may be the problem—they sound like they’re sleeping when they try to articulate it to prospects. Our analysis found that, at the end of 50% of sales calls, prospects do not know what the company does or the value that it can provide.

The whole point of the sales call is to clearly articulate what, how, and potentially why your solution solves the prospect’s specific business problem. When sellers fail to engage prospects in your value proposition, they are wasting the most important opportunity your company has to establish an on-going, mutually beneficial relationship.

Most companies will attempt to mitigate this issue with scripting, training, and, perhaps, message certification. But this just scratches the surface. Sellers need to be able to apply your company’s value proposition to specific scenarios that make it relevant and valuable to different prospect’s needs. They also need to be able to deliver it in an engaging manner, not just recite it.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #4: Differentiation

After 47% of sales calls, prospects do not have a clear view of how your solution differs from your competitors. The main gap here is that sellers tend to equate differentiation to pricing and features.

Differentiation is a core sales skill that leadership expects all sellers to be able to do. But that expectation is being taken for granted when 47% of your sellers are not able to articulate these differences! They are actually creating more harm than good by taking calls with your customers and prospects. In fact, we found that a full 6.29% where providing absolutely no differentiation at all!

More often, we find that sellers talk about features, rather than specific benefits to the client. To effectively differentiate, sellers must be trained to focus on customer needs and how your solution is uniquely capable of filling that need. Features and pricing do not differentiate your solution from your competitors.

Get Coaching Tips for Sales Managers in the Full Sales Benchmark Report Here >>

Sales Performance Fail #5: Creating a Vision

A full 43% of sellers do not effectively create a vision of use for prospective customers. Without that clarity on how they would use the solution, your prospects likely do not have much urgency to purchase. They know they have an issue that needs to be solved, and they’ve identified you as a potential resource, but if they don’t see specifically how your solution is going to translate to pain relief for their life, they are likely to either continue with the status quo or continue looking for a solution that will fit their needs.

Your marketing and/or business development departments have done some heavy-lifting to get prospects to the stage in the buyer’s journey that they are talking with sales. To lose them simply because they don’t have a clear understanding of how it works is just a tragedy!

The solution comes back to being able to tell a compelling story. Integrating a client story into the discussion provides prospective customers with a vision of use. Also, make sure sellers are doing their research and understand the prospect’s business so they can effectively align your solution with prospective customers’ needs.

Could your sales reps be closing more deals? Absolutely.

But the ability to do so will not just come from optimizing your tech stack or requiring more activity. These adjustments will result in only marginal improvements, at best. Optimizing the conversations your sales reps are having with prospects and customers will yield greater returns with a relatively lower amount of investment.

Begin improving your team’s conversation performance by downloading the full Sales Performance Benchmark Report. Discover what skills other sales organizations focus on to improve their sales interactions and gain specific, actionable coaching tips that sales leaders and frontline managers can start using today to improve sales interactions.

 

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Top Sales Technology Solution Providers of 2017

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CIO Applications Magazine announces the top 25 sales technology solution providers of 2017

Nicholas de Kouchkovsky’s 2017 Sales Tech Landscape notably includes over 700 sales technology providers organized into 32 categories (up from 300 in his first edition, published in 2015). It’s astounding to see how far the sales technology industry has come in just a few short years! Management of the sales tech stack is proving to be, understandably, complicated for sales organizations large and small. In his article, de Kouchkovsky illustrates:

“I have vivid memories of a well-known company sharing at an American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) meeting that its inside sales department was using more applications than having people!”

(de Kouchkovsky, Sales Tech Landscape 2017: Making Sense of 700+ Players)

sales technology solution CIO MagazineCIO Applications Magazine steps in to help Chief Innovation Officers (CIO) make informed sales technology purchase and integration decisions for their own sales organizations. In reviewing this burgeoning industry, CIO Application Magazine’s review panel of CEOs, CIOs, and VCs selected just 25 vendors most capable of providing the best sales technology to fulfill management needs. The resulting Top 25 Sales Technology Solution Providers list helps CIOs provide value to the business by enabling a smarter, more productive sales organization through innovation and technology.

See The Full Top 25 Sales Technology Solutions Providers List

CommercialTribe is honored to be included in this list. Our continued commitment to improving sales manager development through our platform and services solutions uniquely enables sales teams to achieve above average quota attainment. We fully believe that activating frontline sales managers as coaches is the next big key to sales performance enhancement. That belief has, and continues to be, validated through the work we have pioneered in partnership with some of the most progressive sales organizations in the world.

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How To Improve Sales Productivity With CommercialTribe

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Improve sales productivity by improving the performance of your sales managers and reps.

Anyone can become a salesperson, but very few are actually good at it. True professionals are always on the lookout for how they can improve sales productivity. The ability to take those that have chosen to become not just great salespeople, but great sales managers and leaders, and give them the tools they need to improve their craft is why the team at CommercialTribe gets out of bed every day.

The reality of the sales profession is that the “make it or break it” mentality is what is keeping sales organizations from attaining the next level of sales productivity. Our big idea is that we can improve sales productivity by moving sales teams into a sustainable world where people are being coached and developed on an ongoing basis. A world where sales teams reach their maximum productivity not by waiting for the next improvement in CRM technology, but through the improved effectiveness of each of their interactions.

Becoming a great sales professional is just like becoming great at anything. If you want to become a guitar player or basketball player, you practice your craft. You practice every day, and you put your practice to the test by performing in concerts or games. In a quota-driven environment, the ability to hone your craft as a salesperson is compressed. You have to get to performance level fast, and you have very little time in your schedule to do it. You need a tool that enables practice, reinforcement, and feedback to get you to your goal.

Founded by sales executives and built by reps for reps, CommercialTribe has a broad set of observational modalities to capture reps in both simulated and live environments. This gives sales managers and leaders visibility into critical interactions that they are currently blind to and provides reps with a clear path forward to improved performance.

Learn how you can improve sales productivity with CommercialTribe >>>

CommercialTribe—More Than Just A Pitch Certification Platform

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CommercialTribe is a SaaS Sales Team Development Platform—Developed by Salespeople for Salespeople.

After decades of working his way up the ranks of some of the most well-regarded sales organizations, CommercialTribe’s CEO and founder, Paul Ironside, realized that something wasn’t right in the industry. As a sales leader, Paul had access to all the data one would need to analyze sales activity, forecasts, pipeline metrics, cost of sales, goal attainment, etc. But he lacked the ability to actually observe his sellers and managers in action consistently. Without efficient observational capabilities, sales leaders around the world were restricted to viewing their world from the vantage point of lagging indicators. They were only able to see that something was wrong after their team missed their goal or after their top performers quit. This reality was simply unacceptable.

Paul began searching for a tool that would provide him with the ability to observe his sales team in action and empower sales managers and leaders to coach and develop individuals based on their specific needs. While his search for what he needed came up empty, the idea continued to fester and grow. Finally, he realized what he had to do. He had to create it himself.

From Paul’s vision came CommercialTribe. Born as a practice platform for sales reps, CommercialTribe has matured into so much more. As we partnered with some of the most progressive sales organizations in the world, such as LinkedIn, HubSpot, nVidia, Pure Storage, and more, the insights that our customers provide have helped shape the CommercialTribe of today—and continue to do so in the future.

CommercialTribe is no longer simply a practice and pitch certification platform. It is an environment that empowers the entire sales organization—from sellers and their managers to sales operations and enablement—CommercialTribe has become a platform that aligns the entire sales organization to increase productivity and improve performance.

From onboarding to launching a new product, re-branding to sales transformations, upskilling to professional development and more, global sales organizations rely on CommercialTribe to execute, measure, coach and improve.

Ready to take your sales organization to the next level? Schedule a demo today and tell us what your sales team needs!

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Building A Millennial-Minded Sales Organization

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Build a millennial-minded sales organization to create a sustainable revenue machine.

Putting whatever prejudices you may have about millennials aside for a moment, building a millennial-minded sales organization isn’t simply about appeasing the “entitled generation”. It’s also about building a sales coaching and development culture within your sales organization that will benefit employees of all ages—and your top line.

Roughly 73 million people were born in the US between 1982 and 1996. Now the largest generation in the workforce, millennials are claiming their place on the org chart and challenging workplace norms. Millennials’ unique experiences and characteristics have inspired a tremendous amount of research, literature, training seminars, and (let’s not forget) ire from those who manage them.

But we’ve come to understand the millennial mindset much better since their debut in the job market in the early 2000s. Companies and teams have made significant changes in procedures, expectations, compensation, benefits, and review structures to engage and motivate their millennial workforce. However, the traditional sales organization continues to struggle with developing, motivating and retaining millennial sellers.

As sales leaders, we need to reconsider the traditional structure of our sales team to build a millennial-minded sales organization.

What is a Millennial-Minded Sales Organization?

Let’s take a look at the motivators that are typically characteristic of your millennial team. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives. They are connected to limitless information at their fingertips but remain unconstrained by norms and relationships. They don’t accept “the way it’s always been” and instead push for change they believe in.

Millennials are often characterized as idealistic, valuing experience and a sense of purpose over money. While this may have some truth to it, the underlying reality is that your millennial employees are paid less (inflation-adjusted) and have far greater debt than their Baby Boomer and GenX counterparts did at their age. They expect that, while they are just squeaking by financially now, they can achieve financial security by developing relevant skills that make them more marketable and gaining experience. They are very focused on professional growth, and they are impatient about how they get it.

Organizations are adjusting compensation, training and development, communication and transparency, and hierarchy structures to build millennial-minded organizations.

However, the sales organization continues to struggle with making these adjustments. With the fast-paced, “produce or perish” atmosphere typical of any sales team, making room for the millennial mindset is seen as being simply impossible.

Learn How To Build A Millennial-Minded Sales Organization: Attend Our Denver Startup Week Session >>

Are You Ready for a Millennial-Minded Sales Organization?

Millennial Molly vs. CSO CHris - Building A Millennial-Minded Sales Organization | CommercialTribeYou’re the CSO. You have about 18 months to prove that you can move the company’s revenue forward to reach its goal, otherwise you’re out. How do you prove you can do the job?

If you follow the traditional Sales Leader playbook, you rely heavily on driving activity and goal compliance through Salesforce. You focus on the classic top-down hierarchy of communication and squeezing maximum productivity out of each asset and hour you have available to you. All this means that you identify where people work at their best and then you keep them there. Because change creates waste—wasted time, wasted productivity, wasted effort.

Rather than moving people around, letting them try new things, and figuring out how to develop people, the comp plan is really your favorite motivator. And why not? We all know that salespeople are coin-operated. You put the money incentive in, and revenue comes out.

But with all that we’ve learned about millennials in the workplace over the past several years, the reality is that your traditional means of motivating people and operating a salesforce is quickly becoming irrelevant. This new crop of reps and entry-level managers expect something very different. They expect more. You can love them. You can hate them. But you can’t ignore the impact millennials are currently having—and will continue to have—on our sales organizations.

“Millennials Aren’t My Problem”

At this point, you may be thinking that this just isn’t your problem. Millennials are entitled and they need to just get over it or go back to living off their mommies and daddies.

Well, you’re wrong. Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, a segment that will only continue to grow over the coming years. Furthermore, get ready for GenZ coming in behind them. While they are different from millennials in many ways, they are still expected to expect many of the same workplace reforms that millennials have pushed for.

Plus, you have a bigger problem. Only 56% of your sales reps are attaining quota, and you have better odds of winning it big in Vegas and being able to retire early than you do of getting an accurate forecast from your sales managers. You may have about a 25% turnover rate, largely due to missed quotas, burnout, and top reps getting recruited away. By the way, these numbers have been an issue for sales leaders around the globe for decades. You can’t simply blame it on the “new kids” coming in and not being loyal. This is your problem, and it’s only going to get worse.

You can no longer afford to maintain the status quo. You need a solution to developing your millennial sales team now, so you can enjoy the returns into the future.

Aligning Needs in a Millennial-Minded Sales Organization

We’ve established that your millennial-minded sales reps (and, potentially, entry-level managers) are looking for something perhaps a bit more than you are traditionally able to provide. But your revenue goal reality is not just going to go away. So how can you build a millennial-minded sales organization without sacrificing efficacy and performance?

Solution: The Sales Team Development Loop.

Using a sales team development loop, you can put the development of your entire sales team on auto-pilot, allowing you to improve your team’s overall effectiveness while satisfying your sales reps’ need for professional development and continual feedback.

HubSpot is an example of how this works for millennial-minded sales teams. Working with their SMB team, we were able to help young frontline sales managers learn how to coach their sales reps to help improve performance and retention on the team. Running a sales development loop with HubSpot’s SMB sales team, we partnered with sales leaders and operations to build a millennial-minded sales organization where learning and development are key to measuring and improving performance—and hitting quota every month.

Learn How To Buildi A Millennial-Minded Sales Organization | CommercialTribe

How To Make Quota Every Quarter with a Sales Development Loop

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The sales development loop helps you get your team to quota every quarter.

Your revenue goal for the quarter is clear. How you reach it is not. In fact, it’s likely that only 57% of your sales reps will hit their quota. What might that mean for you if this trend continues? Let’s try not to think about it.

The solution to the problem is clear: sales team development. Sales team development refers to the development of your entire sales team, from management to reps. What most sales leaders don’t realize is how much of an impact frontline sales manager development has on goal attainment. A company that invests $2,500 per frontline sales manager per year increases revenue plan attainment by 18.4%—on average, 106.7%—compared to those who don’t. Now, let’s think about what that might do for your career!

The sales development loop is a simple, yet highly effective process for improving the performance of busy sales teams. It puts the development of your entire team on auto-pilot by running each loop over the course of a quarter (three months), broken up into three 30-day segments.

Though we have run development loops that attempted to improve multiple types of sales interactions, we’ve found that they are far more successful when each loop is focused on just one specific interaction. Begin your sales development loop by identifying a specific area of the sales process that you want to improve.

For many teams just getting started with the sales development loop process, we recommend starting with the discovery call (or equivalent). The main reason for this is, based on the 30,000+ sales calls we’ve observed, 25% of qualified opportunities are wasted due to poor discovery calls. Even just a small decrease in that number will have a huge impact on your business.

Note that sales team development also includes managers, so you can also target the development of your sales managers using the development loop. Because training dollars are traditionally spent on sales skills training for reps, few managers receive relevant sales management coaching needed to develop critical management skills. Leaders who are interested in the development of their sales managers might target the forecast review, for example, to improve the effectiveness of manager-to-seller interactions.

The main idea is to pick just one interaction to focus on for each sales development loop. Once you decide on that interaction, take the time to identify what behaviors and characteristics make that interaction successful to create an “assessment map”.

Step 1: Calibrate Your Sales Development Loop

Download a Free Sales Assessment Map Template to Calibrate Your Sales Development Loop | CommercialTribeYour sales assessment map can be a simple spreadsheet that plots attributes and behaviors you are looking for in the interaction against the score you would give for each seller or manager being assessed. For example, when assessing your team’s sales discovery calls, you’ll want to identify how well they set an agenda, ask qualifying questions, build rapport, and close for next steps. Rate each behavior on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 meaning “non-existent” and 5 meaning “excellent”.

The sales assessment map will help you stay focused on the behaviors that you’ve identified as most important to making the interaction successful. It will also help keep your scoring and feedback consistent and objective for each person being assessed.

FREE Sales Assessment Map Template! Download Now >>

Step 2: Baseline Sales Skills Assessment

Take the first 30 days of the sales development loop to observe your sales team’s behavior in the specific development area you are focusing on to get a baseline for where your team’s skill level is currently. Resist the temptation to try and fix problems as you see them. Just focus on understanding the current state.

There are two ways you can observe your sales team. You can either sit in on a live call or you can have them submit a call recording. Either way, have your assessment map ready for each call you observe so you can score performance as you go.

Call recording can save you a bit of time, and it provides you with real-life examples of what great performance looks like. When you start coaching your team in the next step, showing these examples to your reps will help them understand exactly what you are looking for.

Step 3: Activate Sales Coaching & Development

The next 30 days of the sales development loop is dedicated to coaching. Based on your assessments, how can you most efficiently allocate your time and energy toward developing your sales team to have maximum impact? This will take some practice, but getting good at it will save you a lot of time.

Chances are you will find that some reps are great in some areas, but need further development in others. Your assessment maps will highlight specifically who needs help in each area, allowing you to efficiently and effectively coach based on personal strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Step 4: Measure Sales Development Progression

Finally, the last 30 days of the sales development loop is meant to observe your team a second time and look for skills progression. Can you see evidence that your team is improving? Celebrate progress on the skill the same way you would celebrate hitting quota and you will be on your way toward creating an environment for your people to get better.

Sales team development isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain type of forward-thinking sales leader to commit to “slowing down to go further.” But once they see the final results, those that do make the commitment are energized and excited to do more. And, no, it’s not just about keeping your job. It’s really about building a world-class sales organization and a sustained revenue-generating machine through continual coaching and development.

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A Common Sense Guide to Recording Sales Calls

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Recording sales calls doesn’t have to be a legal drama with this common sense approach.

When recording sales calls, it is always a good idea to tell the person on the other line that the call is being recorded. This is not just for legal reasons, it’s also about building (or maintaining) trust and rapport. If you start your call by first informing and then asking politely if you can record a call, you are legal in all US states.

This process is as simple as saying: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today, Christine. I would like to record our call today so I can focus on our conversation rather than taking notes during it. Is that OK with you?”

Don’t worry about people abandoning a phone call just because you’re recording it. Call recording is a common occurrence these days, particularly in sales and customer service interactions. People have come to expect it. Your odds of getting struck by lightning are better than the person on the other line saying no (a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Alternatives to Recording Sales Calls

If your organization has a policy against recorded calls, or if many of your sales interactions take place in person, there are common sense alternatives. One tried-and-true approach is a joint call with manager and rep. Their presence on a call should still be announced, but this allows sales coaching to occur without recording the call.

You can also practice sales calls, to be submitted and reviewed by management prior to making live client or prospecting calls. Common practice interactions include practicing voicemails, first pitches, walking through a demo, and roleplaying with a colleague. Practicing sales interactions improves seller performance without throwing leads away.

Recording Sales Calls – The Fine Print

Recording Sales Calls in the U.S.

Understanding the Legality of Recording Sales Calls | CommercialTribe Sales Enablement & Training SolutionBefore we get into the legalities of sales call recording, let me be up-front in telling you that I am not a lawyer and you should by no means consider this legal advice. Please consult your own general counsel if you have specific questions or concerns regarding recording sales calls.

California has the most stringent regulations regarding recording sales calls (real shocker there). Ever litigious, California courts have ruled over several call recording cases brought forward by its citizens over the years. The California Supreme Court has even gone so far as to rule (more than once) that a company that is not located in the state of California but is speaking with a California resident, must comply with California call recording law. In effect, making California law the law of the land, unless you don’t intend to do business in California.

This ties back to the first section of this blog. If you simply inform all participants that the call is being recorded as previously described, you are on the right side of the law in all 50 states without needing to worry about the specifics of each state.

Most webinar and conference providers automatically inform participants that a call is being recorded when they join. This is something that you will want to check on with your service provider. Even when you have an automatic announcement in place, it’s still a good idea to reinforce the message at the beginning of the call. Again, your main goal is to avoid the potential “yuck” feeling your prospects or clients might get by just being upfront with them.

Luckily, things only get easier from there. Simply put, U.S. federal law permits the recording of telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one party. Technically speaking, this means that if you are party to the sales call and you consent to you recording the call, you’re not going to be raided by the FBI or the NSA.

Legal complications do enter the picture when you start looking at state call recording laws. Believe it or not, 38 states and the District of Columbia have all adopted the federal “one-party” requirement (that is a lot higher than I was expecting). The rest require varying degrees of what is called “two-party” consent but what actually means “all-party” consent. In other words, all parties involved in the sales call or in-person conversation need to consent to the conversation being recorded.

Click here for a full list of laws governing recording sales calls by state.

Recording International Sales Calls

As you might imagine, laws governing call recording vary widely from one country to another. Generally speaking, if you’re making sales calls into Canada and/or Europe you need to make sure you are getting consent from all parties involved in the conversation being recorded.

My 2nd best advice in this matter (again, 1st best advice is given in the first section of this blog!) is to simply do a Google search for the country you are calling to educate yourself and make sure you are finding information that has been updated recently, as laws do change.

The legality of recording sales calls comes up fairly often when we’re talking with clients and contacts here at CommercialTribe. The answer does not need to be as complicated as one might think. There is no law that flatly prohibits recording inbound and outbound interactions with your clients or potential clients. The complexities are in who needs to be involved in consenting to the recording.

In any case, it is simply best practice to be open about the fact that you are recording the call and gain the other party’s consent in the first place. This will not only protect you from potential legal repercussions but will also ensure you are not doing anything that will harm the relationship you are building with the other party.

Download Our Free Common Sense Sales Recording Scripts >>

Get past “no” and move closer to the sale

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How_to_Handle_Sales_Objections_Page_01No one likes hearing the word “no.” For many people, the word evokes such a visceral reaction that it often affects drive and performance. Salespeople face rejection everyday, and giving up isn’t an option. In fact, it can provide an incredible opportunity to turn the “no” into a yes—if you know how.

Successful sellers are never discouraged by rejection— they see it as an opportunity to build stronger relationships, better understand their buyer, and move closer to the sale.

This ebook from the RAIN Group gives you everything you need to masterfully navigate objections and lead productive sales conversations that turn into more closed business. Check it out and discover how your sales team can move closer to the sale. How to Handle Sales Objections

The Essential Dreamforce 2016 Game Plan

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Each year, Salesforce.com does a spectacular job in bringing together speakers sessions, activities focused on helping you learn, grow, and succeed – no matter your industry, company size or role.

As a past attendee, I know that the sheer scale of the event can be overwhelming, and you really have to approach the four days with a solid game plan. That’s why we scoured the agenda and came up with this list of sessions – covering hot topics across onboarding, training, coaching, and analytics – that progressive sales and enablement leaders should not miss. We’re especially excited about The Sales Summit – one day of insightful sessions including four tailored tracks for Sales Strategy, Sales Leadership, Sales Development, and Sales Operations.

1: Drive Amazing Results with Modernized Prospecting: Tips and Tricks
Tuesday, Oct 4, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 8

Here are back-to-back sessions on sales development in a hyperconnected world. Join social selling experts leading discussions around success metrics, sales discovery, and the importance of social media in your sales strategy. Marketing expert Jill Rowley explores why the modern buyer is overwhelmed.

2: Standing Out as a Strong Sales Leader in the Age of the Customer
Tuesday, Oct 4, 2:15 PM – 3:45 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Salesforce will share how the company has managed a rapidly growing sales organization. Then, a panel of experts will cover leadership in sales prospecting, and creating value for customers to close deals.

3: What It Takes to Be the Best Sales Coach
Tuesday, Oct 4, 4:00 PM – 5:10 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, Yerba Buena Salon 9

Join this session and pick up some proven leadership tactics on building a robust coaching strategy, along with a new framework for sales leaders.

4: Call Your Shot: Predicting Sales Performance through Coaching
Tuesday, Oct 4, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM | InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, Grand Ballroom C

Last year only 44% of salespeople hit their goal. Only 46% of deals to forecast as “Closed” actually closed. Sales coaching has emerged as the catalyst for sales success. Learn how you can build an award-winning coaching culture.

5: Building Powerhouse Sales Teams
Thursday, Oct 6, 3:30 PM – 3:50 PM | San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, CRM Outfitters Theater South

Coaching, providing feedback, and motivating employees is the key to creating sales teams that stay focused, building strong relationships with customers, and hitting quota. Join this session to learn best practices for leading sales teams to success – tips based on research and hands-on experience.

BUT…Dreamforce wouldn’t be complete without a lineup of fun, empowering, and inspirational sessions that you absolutely shouldn’t miss either. Here are our favorites:

Dreampitch Competition Keynote
Tuesday, Oct 4, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Moscone West, Keynote Room, Level 3

Dreampitch is a startup pitch competition where three early-stage startups building on Salesforce App Cloud pitch their company to legendary investors and entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca. You won’t want to miss it.

“Be a Customer Trailblazer” with Marc Benioff & Special Guests
Wednesday, Oct 5, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Moscone North, Moscone North Hall D

Marc Benioff and industry giants discuss the future of customer engagement including how innovative companies are using the cloud, mobility, IoT and artificial intelligence to achieve new levels of success with connecting with their customers.

Dreamfest and Benefit for UCSF Children’s Hospitals featuring U2
Wednesday, Oct 5, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM | Cloud (Cow) Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014

It’s U2. Need we say more?

Of course, we’d love to connect with you at Dreamforce as well. We hope to see you there!